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Boys Tennis: Toivonen headed back to state

Once Isaac Toivonen calmed down, the Red Wing senior was able to take command in the Section 1AA singles championship match.

Overcoming a 6-4 first-set loss, Toivonen won the next two sets against Rochester Mayo’s Sebastian Vile to win the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 and secure the section title Tuesday in Rochester.

A year ago, Toivonen took second in the section tournament. While the first- and second-place finishers in the section go to state, Toivonen wouldn’t have been content with second place this time around.

“At the end of the day, if you take second you’re upset because you could have played better,” Toivonen said. “So it was cool to win it this time.”

Toivonen continued, “It was a great feeling winning (the section title). It was a great last match of the day. I didn’t want to play for a true second; playing (Lakeville North’s) Sean Kelly and that would have been tough playing him for a third time this year.”

In his first match, Toivonen easily disposed of Lakeville South’s Chase Roseth with a 6-0, 6-0 victory. Toivonen was confident heading into the finals, but Vile’s play style took some adjustments. Even as Toivonen fell into a deficit, there wasn’t a sense of dread.

“He didn’t look like he was losing,” Red Wing head coach Matt Kavanagh said. “It took Isaac a little bit of time to break (Vile) down mentally, but by the third set, he definitely did that.”

And for Toivonen, that started by keeping his composure. Meanwhile, Vile had two violations for unsportsmanlike conduct, including a game penalty that gave Toivonen the victory.

“It was a close match. If I hadn’t won a few of those close points, I wouldn’t have won today,” Toivonen said. “Luckily, I won those borderline points that I needed.”

For the second straight year, Toivonen will participate in the Class 2A tournament, which will begin June 5 at the Baseline Tennis Center at the University of Minnesota.

Last year, Toivonen went 2-2 while finishing as runner-up in the consolation bracket. In his second go-around, Kavanagh can see Toivonen making a run in the championship tournament.

“I’m confident he can do well there,” Kavanagh said. “He should be able to get through a few rounds there.”

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The Red Wing Republican Eagle covers local sports in Goodhue County and surrounding areas. 

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