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Ruby Leach, Emma Farder providing 1-2 punch for the Green Wave

Leach, a freshman, is 31-5 in singles during her varsity career. Farder has played both singles and doubles.

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Emma Farder plays No. 1 doubles for East Grand Forks Senior High.
Grand Forks Herald
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EAST GRAND FORKS — Ruby Leach was only an eighth-grader last season when she cracked the East Grand Forks Senior High varsity tennis lineup.

A pattern quickly emerged.

Leach started winning almost every match.

"It became this thing where everyone on the team knew she was just going to win," Green Wave coach Kyle Hanson said. "We kept sticking her out there, and no matter what, she kept winning. She started at No. 4 singles. By the end of the year, she moved to No. 3. And she just continued to win."

Leach finished her eighth-grade year with a 17-2 singles record.

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Due to the graduation of eight Green Wave seniors, Leach has vaulted into the No. 1 singles position this season.

Still, not much has changed.

Leach is off to a 14-3 start in singles for Senior High, helping to form a 1-2 punch with junior Emma Farder, who has often been placed at No. 1 doubles.

"The ability for Ruby to step up and play No. 1 singles allows us to put Emma in doubles," Hanson said. "Emma is the best player on our team. She's really elevated her game. It's huge having that 1-2 punch that other teams can't match up with."

Leach, who is now 31-5 in singles in her prep career, said she enjoys playing a higher position.

"I think I can stick in there pretty well," Leach said. "And I just like having more competition. It's just more fun playing higher up."

She proved that last weekend at a tournament in Brainerd, where she won the No. 1 singles flight.

"That was impressive," Hanson said. "We've played in so few championships, even there. Last year, we had a couple of second-place finishes. But Brainerd is such a tennis power. Pequot Lakes is such a tennis power. For her to walk out there and beat both of their No. 1s, that was really impressive."

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Farder, who went 18-6 as a sophomore last season, is having success in both singles and doubles this fall. She's 8-1 in singles and 6-3 at No. 1 doubles.

"Emma moves her feet so well," Hanson said. "She gets her body in position so well. She's always ready to play. She has the ability to hit different shots. She's starting to rip the ball a little harder and some things are starting to come to her. She's such a strong doubles players. She is a huge asset for us right now because we can put her on either side."

The successes of Leach and Farder at elevated lineup positions has allowed the Green Wave to win this season, despite losing four seniors who had more than 50 career victories — Maggie Dietrich (104), Brynn Havis (87), Katelyn Farder (71) and Aleah Oshie (52).

"It's definitely weird playing the top spots," Farder said. "Our seniors last year were the people who have always been playing the top spots, so it's kind of weird to think now that I'm playing that spot."

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Ruby Leach plays No. 1 singles for East Grand Forks Senior High.
Grand Forks Herald

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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