GRAND FORKS — It's one of the best stories of this spring sports season in North Dakota.

Grand Forks Central girls tennis team didn't win a single match four years ago. This season is a different story for the Knights.

"We have had our ups and downs in the past," Knights senior Katie Stauss told Forum News Service.

Rally by rally, point by point, this group is building for something special.

"Each year we have girls who are determined to get better and better," Stauss said.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

The Knights have went from two conference wins in 2016, to three the following season, then in 2018, a breakthrough: Five conference wins and a trip to regionals. This season, they're a contender.

"I feel right now we are at our highest potential," Stauss said.

It's taken hard work and some growing pains to get here.

"When you start to win some matches, you gain the confidence, you've been there before, you know how to fight adversity," said Central head girls tennis coach Nick Graves. "It's easy to sit there and say, 'Oh, we just gotta battle back,' but if you've never done it, it's tough."

The struggles these girls have endured make this season all the more sweeter.

"It feels great, honestly," Knights sophomore Gabby Spicer said. "My seventh-grade year, we didn't even win one match. Now we go out on the court and they're actually somewhat scared to play us."

"Our goal is to make it to state, whether we are the number one seed or two, it doesn't matter," Stauss said.