Boys Tennis: Red Wing takes second at sectionsRed Wing put up a fight but ultimately fell 6-1 to top-ranked Rochester Mayo Tuesday in the Section 1AA finals in Owatonna.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing put up a fight but ultimately fell 6-1 to top-ranked Rochester Mayo Tuesday in the Section 1AA finals in Owatonna.
The Wingers (14-4, 7-0 Missota) took second place in the section and were close to winning two more points against the Spartans.
“We started out great,” Red Wing head coach Randy Decker said. “Our guys came out really fast and they weren’t intimidated but they were a little too good. … They’re able to keep that level of play consistently.”
The Wingers’ No. 1 doubles team of junior Luke Bryant and sophomore Nick Powers dropped a close first set and were down 0-5 in the second set, but they charged back to take the second set before falling 4-6, 7-6, (10-6) in a super tiebreaker. The Spartans already had garnered four winning points so a full third set wasn’t played.
“We played really well,” Bryant said. “We came back and then we took away their fire. It gives us a lot of confidence heading into individuals Thursday. We’ll have that on our shoulders.”
Red Wing’s lone point came at No. 4 singles as sophomore Noah Christenson beat Cameron Bruce 6-3, 2-6, (10-5). Wingers’ sophomore Alex Holm took Nicholas Ackerman to a third set super tiebreaker at No. 3 singles but lost 6-7, 6-2, (10-2).
“When we play well, we’re right there with them,” Decker said. “Their experience and skill level won out in the end.”
Red Wing had three goals at the beginning of the season: to win the conference, get the No. 1 seed in the sub-section and make the section finals. With all three checked off and achieved, the Wingers didn’t have anything else to prove.
“We’re bringing back a lot. I feel good about us next year too,” Decker said.
The Wingers will lose top singles player senior George Gabrielson as well as their No. 2 doubles team of seniors Elliot Dietz and Steffen Bettich, but Red Wing brings back plenty of talent, including five sophomore starters.
“It was a really fun season,” Bryant said. “We all played really well and showed everyone that they should worry about us in the near future.”
All four of Red Wing’s losses this season came against teams ranked third or better in the state. The Wingers lost twice to Mayo, once to Rochester Lourdes, ranked third in Class 1A, and once to Elk River, ranked second in Class 2A.
Wingers bounce Northfield at sections
In the section semifinals, Bryant and Powers secured the clinching point for Red Wing in a 5-2 victory against Northfield.
Bryant and Powers won 6-1, 6-3 at No. 1 doubles.
“Northfield really played better than when we first played them,” Decker said. “We just happened to be a little better.”
The Wingers defeated Northfield 6-1 earlier in the season.
Toivonen won 6-7, 6-3, 10-6 in a super tiebreak at No. 1 singles against Aaron Stets, Gabrielson defeated Perry Tetreault 6-2, 7-5 at No. 2 singles and Christenson tallied a 6-2, 6-2 victory at No. 3 singles against Andrew Johnson.
Dietz and Bettich scored the final point for Red Wing with a 6-3, 7-5 win against Tanner Ruppe and Kevin Kowalewski at No. 2 doubles.
The Section 1AA individual tournament begins Thursday at Lakeville South High School, weather permitting.