Three Cardinals advance in individual tennisReggie Ronning, Connor Illies and Luke Eberly are on to Sections
Reggie Ronning and Connor Illies will head to the Section 8AA individual tournament as the No. 1 seed out of the North after sweeping the competition at the subsection tournament last Thursday.
Luke Eberly will join them as the No. 4 seed from the North in the singles competition after winning a second-round match-up against Jake Anderson from Fergus Falls.
Ronning and Illies have anchored the top two singles spots in the Cardinals’ lineup for most of the season. They teamed up last Thursday and proved to be too much for the rest of the doubles competition.
The duo made easy work of Moorhead’s Mike Holton and Zach Mithun with a 6-0, 6-0 win in the second round after they received a first-round bye. Ronning and Illies then survived a first-set loss to win the next two 6-3, 6-2 against Bemidji’s Sam Weaver and Ben Holter.
That put them in the championship match against Nate Henningson and Cory Kuglin from Brainerd. They proved to be no match for the Cardinal duo as Ronning and Illies wrapped up the title with a 6-4, 6-2 win.
“In the finals they faced off against the No. 2 seed from Brainerd,” head coach Dave Ronning said. “They showed why they were the No. 1 seed going in. With good serving and a solid net attack, they overpowered their opponents and won in straight sets four and two.”
Eberly also had a first-round bye in the singles lineup for Alexandria. He responded with a 6-4, 6-1 win in the second round. In the third, Moohead’s Tyler Hjalmquist got the best of him in a 6-0, 6-1 decision. Brainerd’s Morgan Salo then upended him 6-3, 6-0 in the third-place game.
“Luke had one of those days where he started out great and played a high energy first match but didn’t seem to have much left in his tank for the final two rounds,” Ronning said. “But Luke fought hard and gave it the best that he had on this particular day, and that is all we can ask.”
Matt Peterson also played in the singles competition and fell in the first round to Aaron Johnson of Bemidji. Jacob Otterness and Marvin Wensman were also defeated in the first round of the doubles competition, falling to Brainerd’s Mike Ruen and Jared Anderson.
The Cardinals opened up team competition at the Section 8AA tournament yesterday, Tuesday. They played the top seed from the South, Elk River.
Ronning, Illies and Eberly also played in the individual tournament yesterday at 4 p.m. A win in the first round would advance them to today, where the tournament will be wrapped up to determine who will represent the section at state.
SINGLES – First Round – Aaron Johnson (Bem) def. Matt Peterson, 7-5, 6-3; Luke Eberly (A) first round bye; Second Round – Eberly def. Jake Anderson (FF), 6-4, 6-1; Third Round – Tyler Hjalmquist (MHD) def. Eberly, 6-0, 6-1; Third Place Match – Morgan Salo (BRD) def. Eberly, 6-3, 6-0
DOUBLES – First Round – Mike Ruen/Jared Anderson (BRD) def. Jacob Otterness/Marvin Wensman, 6-3, 7-5; Reggie Ronning/Connor Illies (A) bye; Second Round – Ronning/Illies def. Mike Holton/Zach Mithun (MHD), 6-0, 6-0; Third Round – Ronning/Illies def. Sam Weaver/Ben Holter (BEM), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2; Championship – Ronning/Illies def. Nate Henningson/Cory Kuglin (BRD), 6-4, 6-2