BOULDER — Susan Stensrud sometimes feels like her role early in the girls tennis season is more that of manager than coach.
That’s understandable given all of the lineup shuffling and mixing and matching of doubles pairs that goes on early in the year as coaches strive to find optimal combinations.
After a routine 7-0 victory over Monarch on Tuesday, though, Stensrud feels like she’s close to nailing down a full-time line for her high-powered Fairview Knights. And that means more time for the coach offering tips and pointers instead of organizing challenge matches and juggling roster spots.
“I feel like it takes a month and a half before I get to do any coaching,” Stensrud said.
The lineup clarity is falling into place at a good time for FHS. The Knights are entering the meat of their schedule.
After winning a talent-heavy tournament at Grand Junction last weekend, the Knights ratchet up the level of competition again this weekend with a Cheyenne Mountain tournament that includes Class 4A power Cheyenne Mountain and 5A reigning champ Cherry Creek.
Dual matches with Cheyenne Mountain and Denver East are also on tap, not to mention a showdown with rival Boulder next week.
“I really like it, the intensity,” said FHS No. 1 singles player Monica Li, winner of one of the Knights’ five titles in Grand Junction last weekend. “It builds the anticipation for state. I love having somebody on the other side of the court and we both want the same thing and only one of us can get it.”
Li and the other Knights singles players, along with No. 1 doubles, are all locked in their spots. But the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 doubles teams have been in flux recently for the Knights.
Hayley Young and Caroline Kruger won a 6-0, 6-4 decision over Monarch’s Katie Mintle and Yuri Araki at No. 2 doubles on Tuesday. But both Young and Kruger have played at other positions this season.
“I think we know each other well enough that we can click well together (no matter who is paired in doubles),” Young said.
The Knights (4-0 in duals) were solid throughout Tuesday’s contest.
All seven matches ended in straight-set sweeps. Li turned in a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Julia Gallant at the top of the lineup, and Katie Kuosman (No. 2 singles) and Katie Li (No. 3) were finished with their victories nearly as quickly.
Jessee Clauson and Hannah Embree, the daughter of Colorado Buffaloes football coach Jon Embree, won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3 doubles, and Lindsey Nguyen and Laura Jamison cruised at No. 4.
The tightest match came at No. 1 doubles, where Paris Hogan and Megan Thayer had to scrap in the second set for a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Monarch’s Teylor Greff and Darlene Wen.
For the Coyotes (0-5), a squad with just one senior in the lineup, the day’s matches against one of the state’s top-two teams were as much about finding ways to improve as they were the final scores.
“This is obviously a developing team,” Gallant said. “It is frustrating but we know this is the best of the best in Colorado. We’re going to play our hardest, but it’s difficult.”
Follow Josh Lindenstein on Twitter: @JoshLindenstein
Fairview 7, Monarch 0
At Fairview HS
Singles — 1. Monica Li, Fairview, def. Julia Gallant, 6-0, 6-0; 2. Katie Kuosman, Fairview, def. Antonia Lin, 6-1, 6-1; 3. Katie Li, Fairview, def. Emma Scott, 6-1, 6-0.
Doubles — 1. Paris Hogan/Megan Thayer, Fairview, def. Teylor Greff/Darlene Wen, 6-1, 7-5; 2. Hayley Young/Caroline Kruger, Fairview, def. Katie Mintle/Yuri Araki, 6-0, 6-4; 3. Hannah Embree/Jessee Clauson, Fairview, def. Alysa Remington/Addy Lofstedt, 6-1, 6-0; 4. Lindsey Nguyen/Laura Jamison, Fairview, def. Dani Simon/Jessie Madison, 6-2, 6-2.