Boys Tennis: Wingers take control against NorthfieldRed Wing head coach Randy Decker knew Tuesday’s match against Northfield was crucial so he decided to ratchet up the pressure and tell the Wingers to win it for student manager Kristen Anderson.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing head coach Randy Decker knew Tuesday’s match against Northfield was crucial so he decided to ratchet up the pressure and tell the Wingers to win it for student manager Kristen Anderson.
It was Anderson’s birthday, she’s a junior at Red Wing High School, and the Wingers responded with a critical 6-1 victory over Northfield at Twin Bluff Middle School in Red Wing as a special birthday gift.
“He definitely played that card,” senior George Gabrielson said of Decker’s pre-game pep talk. “He put the pressure on.”
Red Wing (5-1, 2-0 Missota) needed the match in hopes of defending its Missota Conference title and to help secure a No. 1 seed in the section later in the season. The Wingers had little trouble coming away with the victory.
“This was a really important win both for Missota Conference and it really put us in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed in the north section,” Decker said. “It was huge to play the way we played both yesterday and today.”
Sophomore Isaac Toivonen used his size and athleticism to frustrate Aaron Stets at No. 1 singles as he cut points short with consistent volleys at the net and won the match 6-1, 6-2.
Gabrielson looked a little shaky during the beginning of his match at No. 2 singles but once he got comfortable he dominated his opponent and won the match 6-2, 6-1.
“Once you get settled in after the first few games, it’s all easier,” Gabrielson said. “I just went out and played my game and I was aggressive. … I played a lot of offense.”
Evan Johnson secured Northfield’s only point with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-0 victory against sophomore Noah Christenson. It was the only blemish for the Wingers but it wasn’t much of one as Johnson beat his previous four opponents 6-0, 6-0 before facing Christenson.
“I thought Noah did well to almost win,” Decker said. “(Johnson) just stopped missing. I don’t think he made an unforced error for the next 11 games.”
At No. 4 singles, sophomore Alex Holm overcame some errant shots to defeat Andrew Johnson 6-4, 6-4.
Red Wing’s No. 1 doubles pairing, junior Luke Bryant and sophomore Nick Powers, rolled over Scott Silkensen and Ryan Walzer-Kuntz 6-3, 6-1 and continued to show good chemistry.
“Something just clicked for them on Monday and they’re just playing great,” Decker said of his No. 1 doubles team. “The doubles have come alive.”
Seniors Steffen Bettich and Elliot Dietz defeated Tanner Ruppe and Kevin Kowalewski 7-6, 6-3 at No. 2 doubles while eighth-grader Travis Toivonen and ninth-grader Josh Lyons won their match at No. 3 doubles against Michael Zell and Jordan Shimek 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
The Wingers welcome another top team Wednesday in fifth-ranked Rochester Mayo. Competition begins at 4:30 p.m. at Twin Bluff Middle School in Red Wing.