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Alexandria girls' tennis: Cards fall short in state berth bid

Marissa Wheeler (pictured) teamed up with Rachel Sjostrand as the duo came up a little short in the Section 8AA doubles tournament. Both Wheeler and Sjostrand will be back as seniors in 2013. (Echo Press photo by Eric Morken)

The Cardinals were so close to sending a player to the upcoming State Class AA individual tennis tournament when Rebecca Lukes reached the finals of the singles division, only to be defeated in a true second match in the Section 8AA tournament Saturday.

"Rebecca had to play [her] true second match against the two seed in the north, and she fell behind early and had some very close games that she just couldn't win the big points in, and that decided the match," said her coach Dave Ronning. "Rebecca wasn't able to come back from that start and didn't play at all the way she is capable of playing. It was disappointing, but no one can take away what she has accomplished this season.

"She fought her way all the way to the finals with wins over girls from Moorhead, Thief River Falls, Monticello and Thief River Falls again.

"The final was the third time she faced off against Taylor Tarrolly of Tech. It was the rubber match and this time, it went to Tarrolly 6-0, 6-4. It was a good match, but Tarrolly played great and was just too overpowering."

Ellie Bergstrand, also playing in the section singles division, was the fourth seed. She won her first two matches before falling to Taylor Tarrolly of St. Cloud Tech.

"Ellie played very solid tennis in her first two rounds, beating a girl from Bemidji and a girl from Little Falls, both in straight sets," said Ronning. "Ellie also had a tremendous season and has a lot to be proud of.

In doubles action, Jessica Larson and Jenna Hedstrom won their first match, but fell in their second, and Rachel Sjostrand and Marissa Wheeler lost their opening match.

"Rachel and Marissa played a nice match against the second seed from the north but couldn't put enough points back-to-back to overcome their foes and they lost in straight sets," said Ronning. "Rachel and Marissa were big contributors to our success this year and we look forward to seeing what they can accomplish next year as seniors.

"Jessica and Jenna won their first round match over a pair from Thief River Falls, but were hit by a buzz saw in the second round when they faced the third seed in the north from Bemidji," he said. "Jessica and Jenna didn't play their best match by any means and they were disappointed in the results, but they can hold their heads high with the season they had."

Section 8AA Individual tournament:


Rebecca Lukes, third. Lukes def. Jessica Glatt, Moorhead, 6-0, 6-0; def. Carly Lunsetter, Thief River Falls, 6-3, 6-0; def. Grace Sawatzke, Monticello, 7-5, 6-1; def. Karlee Jorgenson, Thief River Falls, 6-3, 6-1. CHAMPIONSHIP - fell to Taylor Tarrolly, St. Cloud Tech 6-0, 6-4. TRUE SECOND - fell to Jessica Solberg, Bemidji 6-0, 6-0.

Ellie Bergstrand def. Kenzie Schultz, Bemidji, 6-2, 6-1; def. Jamie Jenks, Little Falls, 6-2, 6-1; fell to Taylor Tarrolly, St. Cloud Tech, 6-0, 6-0.


Marissa Wheeler-Rachel Sjostrand fell to Sabrina Okeson-Kora Torkelson, Thief River Falls, 6-2, 6-2.

Jessica Larson-Jenna Hedstrom def. Sylvia Marolt-Sheena Lee, Thief River Falls, 6-3, 6-4; fell to Olivia Dickinson-Annika Johnson, Bemidji 6-0, 6-0.