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Boys Tennis: Wingers hang with, but lose to Mayo

Red Wing's Noah Christenson gets set for a forehand during his No. 2 match Monday against Rochester Mayo at Twin Bluff Middle School. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)1 / 2
Red Wing's Isaac Toivonen unloads on a serve during his No. 1 singles match Monday against Rochester Mayo at Twin Bluff Middle School. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)2 / 2

Rochester Mayo is a perennial power in both the Big Nine Conference and Section 1AA, and 2014 is no different. The Spartans are ranked sixth in the most recent Class 2A poll, one spot ahead of Edina, and just behind Minnetonka.

So a win over Mayo would have been huge for Red Wing, who faced the Spartans Monday. And for a few moments, it appeared as though the Wingers had the upset within grasp. But Mayo stayed true to form, dropping Red Wing, 5-2.

“We had two three-setters, and Noah (Christenson) had a 6-4, 7-6 (loss), so that was basically a three-setter,” said Red Wing head coach Matt Kavanagh. “It’s just a matter of taking the momentum when you can get it, winning that momentum shift.”

Isaac Toivonen had no problem taking momentum and running with it in a 6-3, 6-0 win over Michael Poeschla at No. 1 singles. But the pendulum swung back to Mayo with a straight-set victory at No. 4 singles where Charles Bengston beat Nick Meyer, 6-0, 6-0. Ray Zhang and Clay Edwards closed out Alex Bettich and Ben Schaffer 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3 doubles, giving the Spartans an early lead.

Then, after the Wingers No. 1 doubles team of Travis Toivonen and Marcus Veith fell 6-4, 6-3 to Nick Ackerman and Haakon Stans, Red Wing was on the ropes. The Wingers’ chance was pinned to Christenson and Alex Holm at No. 2 and No. 3 singles where Christenson was in a second-set tiebreaker with Sebastian Vile and Holm was in a three-set battle with Cameron Bruce.

The Spartans would win both within 10 minutes of each other, clinching the victory and sending every one down the way to watch Powers and Lyons close out the match.

Kavanagh decided to use a balanced lineup Monday, foregoing the urge to build up either his singles or doubles. If anything, the decision may have given the coach a glimpse into what he might need to do to upset a top 10 team in the future.

“I get the rankings each week, and they’re good,” Kavanagh said when asked about Mayo being a barometer for his team. “It’s a good way to determine where we’re at. Last year we played them and lost 6-1. Then we came back a month later and got three matches off them. We know we’re capable of getting that 4-3 victory. If we were to beat them, it wouldn’t be any more than 4-3. But when we play them in a couple weeks at Farmington, I hope the result, one way or the other, will be 4-3.”

Red Wing (4-6) will jump back into Missota Conference play Tuesday when New Prague plays host to the Wingers.


Century clamps down on Red Wing

Isaac Toivonen and the No. 1 doubles team of Marcus Veith and Travis Toivonen got the only two victories for Red Wing in a 5-2 non-conference loss to Rochester Century on Saturday.

Isaac Toivonen beat Sahil Chhugani 6-1, 6-1, while the Wingers top duo ousted Jackson Rainville and Jeffrey Dark 6-2, 6-2.

None of the seven matches went to a third set, though Alex Holm took Alex Senjem deep into the second before falling 6-2, 7-5. Alex Bettich and Josh Lyons had a similar defeat, falling 6-1, 7-5 to Matt Christenson and Ghanashyam Unnikrishnan.

Kyle Stevens
Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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