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Girls Tennis: Lake City duo struggles at state

Lake City senior Katie Wallerich watches the ball come off her racket in the first set of her doubles match with partner Allison Harvey in the first round of the Class 1A state tennis tournament at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis.1 / 2
Lake City senior Allison Harvey follows through on a backhand during her doubles match with partner Katie Wallerich in the first round of the Class 1A state tennis tournament at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis.2 / 2

MINNEAPOLIS - For Lake City senior tennis players Allison Harvey and Katie Wallerich, their Class 1A state tournament got out of hand in a hurry.

After losing 6-0, 6-1 in the first round to Park Rapids Area's Christina Smith and Julia Renner, the Tigers duo took on St. James' Michaela Nordby and Acacia Foss in the consolation playoffs.

Harvey and Wallerich won the first set 6-4, but in the second set, Nordby and Foss got hot quickly. And before Harvey and Wallerich knew it, the St. James team won the second set 6-1, and went on to win the third set in a 10-6 tiebreaker, knocking Lake City's top team out without a win.

"We started strong in the first set, and I don't know what happened," Harvey said about the consolation bracket loss. "We usually have a slump in the second set, and that got away from us. Then from there, it was bad."

Wallerich added, "I looked over and it was already 3-0."

Playing in their first state tournament at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center on Thursday, Harvey and Wallerich fell behind early in their first-round match, and never could recover against the strong Park Rapids Area pairing. Smith and Renner advanced to the championship semifinals after defeating Parkers Prairie's Brenna and Renee Warren 6-0, 6-3.

After being shell-shocked by their first-round loss, the Tigers pair knew in order to compete in the rest of the tournament, they would have to keep things as tight as possible.

"We just knew we had to get after it so that we could keep up in the next game," Wallerich said. "We had to stay close and not let the next team get a big lead."

In the consolation bracket match against Nordby and Foss, Harvey and Wallerich fell behind 1-0 before winning the second game, finding their groove with Wallerich in the back and Harvey attacking at the net. Tied at 4-4, they won the next two games to take the first set.

At that point, the hard-hitting play of Nordby and the finesse play of Foss finally started clicking, and it started causing trouble for Harvey and Wallerich.

"They got really aggressive at the net in the second set," Wallerich said. "It was really hard because if you lobbed it, they would hit it right back. And if you try to hit it right to them, they'll hit it right back at the net. Either way, you had to just be on your toes."

After Nordby and Foss clinched the second set, they kept the pressure on in the tiebreaker. Ultimately, errors by Harvey and Wallerich ended up being their biggest hindrance in the loss.

"The way they played didn't affect us so much," Harvey said "It was mostly our mistakes."

Being seniors that were paired together for the first time this fall, Harvey and Wallerich were proud of their accomplishments this season, if not a little disappointed that they couldn't cap the year off with a win at state.

"It was an amazing year," Wallerich said. "It would have been nice to win one here."

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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