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Clarkston girls tennis aims to repeat as Division I champion

Dana Olsen, left, and Olivia Dunn have thrived at No. 1 doubles. "I think they have a really good chance of winning states," teammate Katie Brozovich said. / Julian H. Gonzalez / DFP
Dana Olsen, left, and Olivia Dunn have thrived at No. 1 doubles. "I think they have a really good chance of winning states," teammate Katie Brozovich said. / Julian H. Gonzalez / DFP

When defending girls tennis state champion Clarkston lost to Birmingham Marian and Birmingham Seaholm to start its season, Becky Freeman wasn't alarmed.

"I didn't have the lineup set yet," the sixth-year coach said.

But Freeman has since set her lineup and believes she has found the right combination that gives the Lady Wolves the best chance to repeat as Division 1 champion.

When the maneuvers were finished, senior Katie Brozovich, who won last year's state title at No. 3 singles, was adjusting to her spot at No. 1; and sophomore Paige Olsen was separated from her twin sister, Dana, at No. 1 doubles.

Defending No. 2 singles champ Lexi Baylis, a sophomore, remains at No. 2, and senior Abby Hubregsen is at No. 4 singles. Meanwhile, Dana is adjusting to new her teammate, senior Olivia Dunn, at No. 1 doubles.

Seniors Allie Wilson and Amy Wozniak are at No. 2 doubles; juniors Jordan Stuart and Mackenzie Bedor are at No. 3; junior Monique Zentner and freshman Katie Hubregsen are at No. 4; and senior Alyssa D'Andrea and sophomore Miranda Marshall are at No. 5.

"I think doubles is the biggest transition," Brozovich said of the changes. "With the doubles you're switching partners and you don't know what the team dynamic is going to be. You have to figure out who you're going to pair up with. In singles there's only one person on the court."

Brozovich was impressed with how the Olsen twins were adjusting in their new roles.

"They've (the twins) been great," Brozovich said. "They're both playing amazing. I think they've both only lost one match. They're handling it well. Dana and Olivia are a really good team, and I think they have a really good chance of winning states. Paige at three, she's doing great in singles; she's winning in straight sets, often, and playing great."

The Lady Wolves were 8-3-1 entering last weekend's tournament in Holly, where they tied with powers Marian and Port Huron with 18 points each.

Abby Hubregsen, Brozovich and Baylis reached the finals, with Baylis and Brozovich winning titles. Zentner and Katie Hubregsen reached the final at No. 4 doubles, while D'Andrea and Marshall won the consolation bracket at No. 5.

"I don't think the dynamic of the team has really changed that much," Baylis said. "We're still the same people we were last year -- just in different spots. I think it has worked really well; I'm glad for it."

The Olsen twins got a treat for spring break, spending it at the IMG Academy Bollettieri tennis program in Florida.

"It was a really good experience," Dana said. "We got to get coaching from some of the best coaches out there and training. We learned a lot."

The lessons learned have been put into action.

"We were open to doing what was best for the team," Paige said of the switch. "I thought if I was playing singles, Dana was going to come up and play singles, too. I'm good with it because I've played singles in USTA."

Said Dana: "We played doubles last year together, and we were working on it before that about a year-and-a-half."

Finishing her sister's sentence, Paige added: "We practiced doubles because we thought we were going to be playing doubles this year."

So far the moves have worked, and Freeman, who can be spotted anxiously pacing the courts watching, is hopeful everything is in place for another title run in Midland next month.

"We don't think of having a bull's-eye or target on our backs," Freeman said. "We just want to go out and play our best. There's so much good competition out there that other teams are vying for the one spot, so we're gracious. We'll let them have that -- and the target -- and in the end we hope to come through and prevail in Midland."

When thinking back to last year, the tingle of lifting the crown and winning the school's first team title still had Freeman feeling good.

"I still have a smile on my face when I think of that," Freeman said. "We're solid. They're great girls. My six seniors. ...I'm telling you I've got one going to Bowling Green (Brozovich), one going to U-M (Wilson); I've got two going to Michigan State (Wozniak and Dunn), I've got one with a scholarship to Notre Dame (Abbey Hubregsen). They're very intelligent. They're smart girls. They're go-getters. My sophomores with Lexi Baylis and the twins... They all want it again, and they're willing to do whatever it takes."

Freeman hopes the moves add up to enough points for another state title.

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