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Girls Tennis: Orthaus goes winless at state

Lake City senior Amy Orthaus prepares for a slice shot during her first-round match against St. Peter's Calleigh Carlson in the Class 1A state tennis tournament at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS - In her time as a Lake City tennis player, the coaches wanted to change several things about Amy Orthaus' tennis game.

"The lob game, the swinging volleys, my serve, I kind of scrunch my body," Orthaus said. "I know that has driven them crazy."

Said Tigers head coach Dave Toole, "We've tried to change her game a number of times, but that's her game."

Even as she was preparing for the Class 1A state championship, Toole was still trying to tweak Orthaus' unorthodox tendencies.

"When we were at practice last week, he was like, 'Oh, we should get you to not swing at those,' so I did a few not swinging," Orthaus said of her volleys.

But for a girl that has made state two years in a row and was ranked 14th in the state heading into the state tournament Thursday at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center, the coaches finally decided: Why mess with success?

"Of course at practice, the shots went straight into the net and (Toole's) like, 'Yeah, it's too late to try and change those things,'" Orthaus said.

Trying to get a win in the final tournament of her high school career, Orthaus fell in a three-set heartbreaker in her first match against St. Peter's Calleigh Carlson, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0. In the consolation bracket, Orthaus was knocked out of the tournament in a 6-1, 6-1 loss to fourth-seeded Aryn Eckstrom of St. James.

In the first round, Orthaus' lob game was giving Carlson fits on the way to the first-set victory. But in the second set, Carlson started going along with the lob game and was able to limit her mistakes and put the match firmly in her control.

"I wasn't expecting her to play my lob game with me, but she was also very good at that, just like my section match with Jenny Mulvey (of Trinity School at River Ridge)," Orthaus said. "(Carlson) was good at the lob game, too. When someone else plays your game, it's harder to play at them."

Finally getting Orthaus off the back line, Carlson was able to cruise in the second and third sets on the way to the three-set victory. Carlson went on to fall in the second round to Annandale's Kaytlin Kuefler, 6-1, 6-1.

"I started strong, and she started to make some mistakes, so I started to build on that," Orthaus said. "But it kind of flip-flopped in the second, and for sure, the third set. She was coming on stronger and I started to make more mistakes."

In the consolation bracket, Orthaus used her slice shot early and often in an effort to get Eckstrom in motion. But Eckstrom, the No. 7-ranked singles player in Class A, was able to respond every time with a combination of strong swings and finesse shots. Orthaus tied the first set at 1-1 before Eckstrom won the next five games to take the set. Holding a 2-1 lead in the second set, Eckstrom won the final four games, knocking Orthaus out of the tournament.

"I was expecting her to be really tough," Orthaus said. "I was kind of surprised she wasn't more of a power hitter than I thought she would be.

"She's probably one of the nicest girls I've played all year," Orthaus added, "so that's kind of nice to go out and end your career against someone who's that nice."

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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