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Luther's Ace

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ONALASKA, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Anna Hemmelman gets nervous before every match. Before every serve, she said she has just a few thoughts.

"Try to get it in, but yeah, [I'm] just focusing on what I need to do and what Mr. Ross tells me," Hemmelman said. "[He] gives me tips, so I always try to keep that in my mind"

Before this fall, she's never had to worry much about all that playing tennis. After all, she just played for fun.

"My whole family played it, so I thought it would be fun to play it actually competitively," said Hemmelman.

So, she did, and Hemmelman became a contributing part of Onalaska Luther's 8th consecutive conference championship team...

...as a freshman.

Head Coach Mark Ross said, "I knew she was a pretty good player, a good athlete. She's mentally tough, but I never expected her to do what she's doing."

What she's doing is having an undefeated season. Hemmelman's 17-0 at three singles.

She said, "It gives me some confidence knowing I've won every other match, so hopefully I can win the others."

Hemmelman's feat is already a first for Ross, a ten-year veteran head coach.

Ross said, "I've never had anybody go undefeated in singles for this long. Rachel Niemi years ago was a pretty good singles player. We paired her...as a doubles team, and they went undefeated...up until the state semifinals."

Playoffs are the next step for Hemmelman and the Lady Knights who are still searching for a state champion. But as for the freshman's future? Teammates said it looks pretty bright.

"I think she will have a very good shot at being number one, next year if she beats people on the team this year," said Luther's #1 singles player, Rachel Riediger. "Definitely when she's a senior. She'll lead the team into hopefully more conference wins for us."

That's high praise for an athlete just happy to be a part of the team.

Hemmelman said, "I mean I kind of wanted to make it on to varsity, maybe. But, I just wanted to see what it was like. I mean I've never played tennis competitively before, so I never expected it to be like this."

All she does expect are those pre-match nerves.

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