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Woodbury wins season-opening invite

Claire Proesch and the Woodbury girls tennis squad won the Eagle Invite at Totino-Grace High School over the weekend. (Bulletin file photo)

This is all relatively new to first-year coach Brandon Heath.

He took over as the head honcho of the Woodbury girls tennis program only a few weeks ago and admittedly doesn’t know much about most of his players quite yet. He just recently learned everyone’s name and is still learning certain player’s tendencies on the court. Heath will have to do the rest on the fly as the regular season officially started over the weekend.

“It’s really exciting for me,” Heath said. “That said I know it’s a new year and I’ll have to earn the trust of the players on this team as the season progresses.”

That will come with time for the Royals. It appears, however, that the team is off to a good start under Heath after Woodbury garnered a title in its first tournament of the season Aug. 16.

The Royals finished in first place out of seven other teams at the Eagle Invite at Totino-Grace High School with a number of titles across the board.

“I know the girls were happy with this win,” Heath said, “but I don’t think they were satisfied with this win. They know we have a lot of talent on this team this year, and hopefully this win was the first of many.”

Woodbury started practice last week and Heath said it was good for his players to go up against live competition. There is only so much that can be taught in practice as players tend to get tired of playing against teammates.

“They were ready to go against someone different,” Heath said. “It’s nice to have a common enemy to play against.”

That weekend competition also afforded the Royals a unique opportunity to catch a quick glimpse of some of the teams it will play later this year as programs like East Ridge and Roseville were present.

“It was good to get a look against that kind of competition,” Heath said. “It gives us a good gauge to see where we are at right now. … We know we have a lot of talent this year, but it was nice to get out there and see our players perform well against other talented opponents early on in the season. It’ll be exciting to see where we go from here.”

So while Heath continues to learn the ropes as the new leader of the program it’s clear — at least after the first weekend of the 2014 campaign — his team is on the right track.

“It’s a great place to build from right now,” he said. “This was a great starting point for us. … We’re going to enjoy this win for a bit, but we know it’s only the first result of the season. It’s not about where we start. It’s all about where we finish.”