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Red Wing’s Josh Lyons reaches up to hit the ball during the first set of Tuesday’s No. 2 doubles match against Lakeville North in the Section 1AA semifinals. Lyons, with partner Marcus Veith, won their match 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, but the Wingers would fall to the Panthers 4-3. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)

Boys Tennis: Lakeville North sneaks by Wingers

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Tuesday’s Section 1AA semifinal came down to one match, with Red Wing’s Noah Christenson facing off with Lakeville North’s Justin Yee at No. 2 singles. Playing a third set that would decide who moved onto the section final, Yee had Christenson on the ropes, going up 5-1.

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But Christenson would not go down without a fight, stringing together a three-game winning streak. With Yee up 5-4, he and Christenson eventually played to deuce and traded the advantage four times.

Finally, on the fifth time, Yee put away Christenson to win No. 2 singles 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, and clinch the match for the top-seeded Panthers 4-3 over the third-seeded Wingers.

“Down 5-1 in the deciding match, it was nice to see Noah claw back into it,” said Red Wing head coach Matt Kavanagh. “That game went on forever, and we fell short at the end.”

Trading shots from the baseline throughout the third set, Christenson sat back and waited for Yee to make mistakes, a strategy that kept the Wingers’ hopes of a finals berth alive.

“Both guys knew what was at stake … I’m glad that third set got competitive after Noah went down 5-1,” Kavanagh said. “(Yee) was looking shaky and you could tell he was tired. If (Christenson) would have won that set, that would have been the match.”

Red Wing managed to split the singles with Lakeville North. At No. 1, Isaac Toivonen made short work of the Panthers’ Sean Kelly with a 6-1, 6-4 victory. And at No. 3, Alex Holm picked up a decisive 6-3, 6-0 win against Lucas Heliman. 

At doubles, Marcus Veith and Josh Lyons got the Wingers’ lone win, surviving three sets with Lakeville North’s Kyle Binder and Carter Springer, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. 

In an evenly played No. 1 doubles match, Red Wing’s Nick Powers and Travis Toivonen brought Maxwell Parkinson and Brett Jacobus to the brink in two sets, but could not finish off the Panthers duo as Parkinson and Jacobus won 7-5, 7-5. 

With the Wingers’ hopes of a team berth to state dashed, the team will try its hand in the section individual tournament, starting at 9 a.m. Thursday in Red Wing.

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