The Hershey girls’ tennis team ran into a buzzsaw Thursday when they battled Kearney Catholic at Harmon Field in Kearney.

The Lady Panthers lost all six varsity singles and all three doubles matches to the Lady Stars.

New Hershey coach John Lehmer said his team has not won many matches this year but he is proud of their spirit, enthusiasm and work ethic.

Only five of 17 girls on the team are seniors and many of the freshmen are playing organized tennis for the first time.

“I sometimes hate reporting our scores to the media because we have not won many games this year and I don’t like to discourage the girls when they read about their losses,” he said. “But these girls play hard, practice hard and never, never give up. Even if they are down by a large margin, they keep fighting down to the last point of the match.”

Lehmer is excited for the future and said with more practice and more game experience the team will become more and more competitive.

“They are a fun bunch of girls to coach,” he said. “They get along well and I tell everyone of them that having fun is the most important thing they can do when they play.”

“Hustle, hit, never quit” is the motto displayed on their jerseys.

“They designed that themselves, they took charge and made that their goal,” Lehmer said.

Lehmer coached at North Platte prior to coming to Hershey. Before that he coached tennis at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

He expects the program will continue to grow and encourages team members to recruit junior high girls for next year’s team.

“Tennis is a sport they can play for life,” he said.

Next up is an April 10 trip to Lexington.