KINGSFORD - Iron Mountain hopes small numbers add up to big results in girls tennis this season.
Coach Greg Stegall's Mountaineers show a roster of 14 girls, with 12 needed for dual matches.
"We've got a real challenge this season plus our overall numbers are way down," Stegall said after the Mountaineers downed Ishpeming 6-2 in the season opener Thursday at Kingsford. "It's going to require real dedication and determination to commit to our schedule to make it work this year."
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
Iron Mountain’s Katie Brule returns a shot against Ishpeming’s Gabby Croley in their No. 1 singles match Thursday at Kingsford. Brule prevailed 6-2, 6-1.
Iron Mountain lost seven seniors to graduation. But the Mountaineers do return five sophomores starters - Katie Brule, Olivia Truscott, Emily Chang, Kate Bugni and Emily Bugni - coming off strong frosh campaigns.
Senior Elli McCole and Chang form No. 1 doubles. Kathryn Brown returns to the Mountaineers and teams with Cayla Carey at No. 3.
Hannah Hakamaki, Carrie Oslund, Abby Theisen and Amber Theisen also played last season.
"Our only freshmen, Grace Hansen and Libby Brown, are nice additions to our squad and playing their first varsity matches," Stegall said.
In Thursday's season opener, Brule, a 2012 U.P. and Mid-Peninsula Conference No. 2 singles champ, opened with a 6-2, 6-1 decision over Gabby Croley. The Bugni sisters have moved up to No. 2 doubles this season after winning the 2012 U.P. No. 3 doubles crown.
"Like all seasons, this one will have its unique challenges," Stegall said. "We'll definitely have some unexpected problems to overcome with such a small team roster. We can't afford any injuries or conflicts in our scheduled matches.
"I hope our girls are determined to adjust their schedules and make themselves available. If they can do this, I'm confident we'll have a winning season and some U.P. champions."
Iron Mountain competes Saturday in the Kingsford Invitational. Ishpeming dropped to 0-2 on the season.
SENIORS - Elli McCole, Cayla Carey, Carrie Oslund, Abby Theisen.
JUNIORS - Hannah Hakamaki, Kathryn Brown, Amber Theisen.
SOPHOMORES - Katie Brule, Olivia Truscott, Emily Chang, Kate Bugni, Emily Bugni.
FRESHMEN - Grace Hansen, Libby Brown.
IM 6, Ishpeming 2
SINGLES: 1. Katie Brule, IM, def. Gabby Croley 6-2, 6-1; 2. Olivia Truscott, IM, def. Jaime Olson 6-2, 6-4; 3. Jessica Penhale, I, def. Abby Theisen 6-2, 6-0; 4. Lindsey Thompson, I, def. Libby Brown 6-1, 6-2.
DOUBLES: 1. Elli McCole-Emily Chang, IM, def. Libbie Doney-Kaylee Ronn 6-3, 6-4; 2. Kate Bugni-Emily Bugni, IM, def. Alexss Christian-Chloe Stetson 6-0, 6-1; 3. Kathryn Brown-Cayla Carey, IM, def. Katie Harrison-Sarah Lyke 6-1, 6-1; 4. Hannah Hakamaki-Grace Hansen, IM, def. Kinsie Bertucci-Hailly Thompson 6-2, 6-0.