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With most varsity teams returning for 2022, it’s been easier for the Marshalltown women’s tennis team to deal with the bad weather heading into their first meet of the season Thursday at No. 5 Johnston.

Head coach John Fiscus and the Bobcats were only able to practice away a handful of times, which limited the team’s ability to stage challenge games and determine seeding. six top players in singles as well as finalizing pairings in doubles. He said there were only two outdoor practices in total in good weather for Marshalltown.

The first meetings of the season, Fiscus said, will help the Bobcats figure out where they stand and what the order might be.

“It’s lower than good [weather-wise]”, said Fiscus. “We have been inside several times. We will just have to learn a lot when we play games.

“We jump straight into a tough game.”

Returning seniors from last season’s squad include Regan Smith and Taylor Jones, alongside BCLUW newcomer (and exchange student from Sweden) Klara Farfecka.

Underclassmen who are back with college experience include second Rebekah Downs and juniors Brianna Hargrave and Emily Diggins, among others.

But another BCLUW exchange student — Martina Manen Mur, a sophomore from Spain — and freshman Kennedy Feldman were also players to watch during the preseason, Fiscus said.

“You have to have that dedication where you want to be better and you want to be out there and compete, and you don’t like to lose,” Fiscus said. “I see that more with my varsity team this year than the past two years, overall.”

He stressed the importance of leadership with the group having so many returns and a young group of potential college players, while adding that this was a group effort among those upper classes.

“We have a mix of leaders, they all play their part,” Fiscus said. “It’s not like one girl is our leader, they do it collectively. I think that’s the reason because we only have two seniors in college so everyone shares that [responsibility].

“I’m happy with the girls I have, they’re happy and supportive.”

Starting the season with a potential matchup against a top-5 opponent isn’t lost on Fiscus as a tough proposition — especially as the Bobcats face Southeast Polk and Newton (both unranked teams) in their next two meetings.

First serve time for the game at Johnston is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday.

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