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Tennis: Mulder, Gilbertson fall just short of earning a trip to state out of Section 8AA

The Cardinals' top doubles team played in a true-second place match on the final day of the 8AA individual tournament, but a duo from Monticello had a little bit more to end their season just shy of state.

Owen Gilbertson
Owen Gilbertson
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Alexandria tennis had its season come to an end in the Section 8AA individual tournament late this past week, but not before its top doubles team made a run at a state-tournament bid.

The Cardinals had both of their doubles teams advance to the second day of the tournament. Brennan Lattimer and Ryan Meuwissen took down Max Harris and Jacob Fuhrman from Bemidji in their opening match by a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 final before falling to Bemidji’s John McNallan and Casey Rupp, and then to Sartell’s Zak Farley and Grant Clark. Lattimer and Meuwissen had their run end last Thursday in a loss to the top duo from Becker.

Owen Gilbertson and Pieter Mulder also played in the doubles tournament and went 2-1 during the first day of action. They won 6-0, 6-3 against Gabriel Reller and Gavin Smith of Detroit Lakes and then added a 6-1, 6-1 win over Farley and Clark of Sartell to make it to the subsection finals. McNallan and Rupp of Bemidji won the North championship against Mulder and Gilbertson by a 6-2, 6-4 final.

Read more Alexandria Cardinals coverage from the Echo Press
On June 5, 1972, the Alexandria baseball program qualified for its first-ever state tournament. Rick Banke threw a shutout in both the semifinals and finals on that day. Now five decades later, Banke and Bob Close, who knocked in the game-winning run in the Region 6 finals, look back on the team's trip to the 1972 state tournament.

Mulder and Gilbertson’s runner-up finish in the North half of the bracket sent them into a matchup against the third-seeded team from the South half from Becker on Thursday. Mulder and Gilbertson won a three-setter there to advance to the semifinals before the top seeded team from Becker won a 7-5, 6-4 match.

Pieter Mulder
Pieter Mulder

Mulder and Gilbertson still had a chance to battle back and earn a trip to state with a top-two finish as they fought their way into a true-second match. To get there, they beat McNallan and Rupp of Bemidji in straight sets.

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“Because Becker went on to win the section individual doubles title, the second place team, Monticello, would have to prove their spot because Gilbertson and Mulder had not faced them,” Alexandria head coach Nick Jansen said. “It was a back-and-forth, streaky match that the Cardinals fell short on. After dropping the first set 6-4, (Mulder and Gilbertson) stormed back to win the second 6-2. In the final set, four deuce games went Monticello's way early, and Alexandria could not regain momentum before they fell 6-2. Although it was difficult to be that close to a trip to Minneapolis, Gilbertson and Mulder showed much about their heart and character, playing tennis for nearly eight hours over four matches.”

Cole Haabala and Blake Svee were the Cardinals’ representatives in the singles tournament, but both dropped two-setters in their opening round of play.

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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