The Badger girls tennis team may have a new head coach this fall, but that does not mean there’s an unfamiliar face in charge of one of Southeastern Wisconsin’s most dominant programs.
This season Katie Schultz is taking over for longtime coach Paul Lauterbach, but Schultz has been an assistant coach for the girls team for the last six years and was the head coach of the boys team last spring.
With that familiarity, it has been easier for the team to adapt than if it was an entirely new coach taking the reins.
“It’s nice to have someone who we’ve known for four years and seen her at school, it’s easy,” senior Emma Fasano said.
Schultz takes over at a good time for the program, as Badger brings back a loaded roster this fall.
Four players who won conference titles last season return, and one more non-champion who was named all-conference returns as well.
The most notable returning player is senior Zaya Iderzul, who enters her fourth season as the Badgers’ top singles player. Iderzul has been one of the state’s top players for the previous two seasons, finishing as the state’s runner up as a sophomore and taking third place as a junior last year.
She may be the team’s top player, but Iderzul is just as focused on how well her teammates play as she is on her own results, and she believes that bond is one of the team’s biggest strengths this year.
“We have really great players, but as long as we’re supporting each other and helping each other through the matches and keeping each other pumped up, I think we’ve got a good chance,” Iderzul said.
While the Badgers have plenty of ambitions for the postseason, including a sectional title and making a run at the state meet, their top goal is to maintain their dominance over the rest of the Southern Lakes Conference. Badger has won the SLC championship five years in a row, with most of those titles coming without losing a match to any of their conference opponents.
However, as the rest of the conference has gotten better over the past few seasons, Badger is prepared to keep its own game at a high level.
“Every year is different. We’ve got to work just as hard, if not harder, than we have in previous years,” Schultz said.