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Tennis: Osakis girls earn a key 6-1 win over Minnewaska as the end of the regular season approaches

Osakis earned a 6-1 win at home over Minnewaska on Thursday with four singles wins and two doubles wins. Both teams are about to put the finishing touches on the regular season in the coming days.

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Osakis' Bella Weisser hits a soft shot over the net in a match against Minnewaska's Jayda Kolstoe on Sept. 29, 2022. Kolstoe won the first set, but Weisser won the final two to win the match at No. 4 singles.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press
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OSAKIS - With the end of the regular season fast approaching, the Osakis girls tennis team earned a 6-1 win over the Minnewaska Lakers on Thursday.

“I thought the girls played well across the board,” Osakis head coach Ryan Maddock said. “It was nice to see them have a great performance at home versus a quality opponent in Minnewaska.”

Osakis and Minnewaska met in the 2021 Minnesota State High School League Section 6A Team Tournament semifinal, which went Osakis’ way (4-3). Osakis fell in the 2021 section title match to Litchfield (6-1).

“Osakis is a very strong team,” Minnewaska head coach Tara Reichmann said. “We’ve played a lot of good teams close this year. We’re right there with some of the stronger teams that we've played. It just takes time and experience.”

The Silverstreaks (14-5) swept the four singles matches and won two doubles matches.

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Freshman Leah Maddock earned a sweep at No. 1 singles for Osakis over Minnewaska sophomore Megan Thorfinnson (6-2, 6-2).

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Osakis freshman Leah Maddock hits a low shot during her win at No. 1 singles over Minnewaska's Megan Thorfinnson on Sept. 29, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Leah Maddock is confident in her ball-striking ability.

“I feel like I can use that and my serving to my advantage,” she said. “It feels like all the hard work we’ve put in at practice is starting to pay off.”

Ryan Maddock said that the strongest part of her game is her forehand shot.

“She has a lot of power and can really dictate play with that shot,” he said. “Her backhand has become very reliable, and her serve is becoming a weapon for her as well.”

Leah Maddock earned second place in the 2021 Section 6A individual tournament, while teammate Mara VanNyhuis (now graduated) earned third. Maddock made the 2021 state tournament as an 8th-grader.

Leah Maddock’s goal for the rest of the season is simple, go as far as she can in the section tournament and hopefully make the state tournament.

Osakis also had sweeps at No. 2 and No. 3 singles on Thursday, with senior Larissa Hoffarth defeating Minnewaska freshman Alia Randt and junior Bria Hoffarth defeating Minnewaska freshman Olivia Danielson.

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At No. 4 singles, Minnewaska freshman Jayda Kolstoe won the first set (6-4), but Osakis freshman Bella Weisser rallied to win set two, 6-3, and set three, 10-3, to win the point.

“The girls have done a good job improving their footwork and movement on the court as the season has progressed,” Ryan Maddock said. “The better we move, the better we play.”

Minnewaska’s point in the match came at No. 2 doubles, with seniors Grace Jensen and Zoey Elwood winning over junior Lauren Anderson and senior Madi Collins in three sets.

Osakis won a three-set doubles match of its own at the No. 3 spot with sophomore Jaclyn Dietrich and junior Brenna Moen teaming up to defeat sophomores Avarie Uhde and Katy Vold (6-2, 5-7, 10-7).

Junior Madeline Anderson and senior Ellie George earned a point for the Silverstreaks with their sweep at No. 1 doubles over senior Olivia Bleick and Sydney Dahl.

The Silverstreaks have been playing on some newly-done courts this season, which the players and coaches have enjoyed.

“I really like our new courts; It's really nice to have, especially as our program continues to grow and we get more and more girls on the team,” George said.

With a quad at Elk River and a match on the road against Foley still on the docket, Ryan Maddock is excited about the team’s depth as the postseason approaches.

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“We have 14 to 15 girls who play at our varsity events, and they have all had great years,” he said.

The Silverstreaks are confident in their team chemistry as the regular season winds down.

“I feel like this team has grown a lot in just creating bonds and just really working together to win matches,” George said.

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Osakis senior Madi Collins (left) fist bumps doubles teammate Lauren Anderson (right) after scoring a point in the second set of their match against Minnewaska's Grace Jensen and Zoey Elwood on Sept. 29, 2022. Jensen and Elwood won the point at No. 2 doubles but Osakis won the match 6-1.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Following Saturday’s quad at Elk River and Tuesday’s match at Foley, Osakis is set to compete at the Section 6A Tournament.

The Section 6A team tournament is scheduled for Oct. 6 and 11, while the individual tournament is set for Oct. 12 and Oct. 18. Both tournaments will be played in Rogers.

“We are excited to see how we will fare in the postseason as we feel like we have a chance,” Ryan Maddock said. “It is always nice to feel like if you play well, you will have a chance to be successful.”

The Silverstreaks have an underdog mentality heading into the end of the season.

“We talk a lot about playing like underdogs and have the mentality that you have nothing to lose and play your heart out,” Ryan Maddock said. “For us to be at our best, the girls just need to relax and play like they can. It will not be easy as Litchfield and New London-Spicer are tough teams, but we should have a chance. We match up well with the teams that will be seeded above us.”

New London-Spicer defeated Osakis on Tuesday, 5-2, and Litchfield defeated Osakis, 4-3, on Sept. 6.

Saturday’s quad in Elk River begins at 9 a.m.

Young Minnewaska team gains experience

In Thursday’s match, the Lakers had three seniors, four sophomores and three freshmen in the starting varsity lineup.

Reichmann said while the team is young, they are learning and growing.

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Minnewaska sophomore Katy Vold serves the ball during her and fellow sophomore Avarie Uhde's match at No. 3 doubles on Sept. 29, 2022, against Osakis.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

“They’re gaining experience,” she said. “They’re starting to have more court awareness. Confidence-wise, I still think they need to build on that.”

Thursday’s loss gives Minnewaska an 8-8 record on the year.

“We’re right there with the stronger teams in our section,” she said. “I think just with time and experience, we'll be right there with the rest of them.”

Team chemistry is a strength that Reichmann thinks the team posses.

“Our team gets along very well together,” she said. “They have good team unity and good personalities. They’re strong academically, and they’re just a joy to be around because they are great kids to work with.”

The Lakers' regular season concludes with the West Central Conference Championship at the tennis courts at Alexandria Area High School at 9 a.m. on Saturday and with a home match against Staples-Motley at 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

“I hope that they see that they can compete with anybody,” Reichmann said. “With a little more confidence, they can beat any of these people. We’ve played tough teams toughly. And even though we lost a couple of them, we’re right in there with them and could surprise some people. We just haven't got that confidence yet to get the big win, but it's not too far away.”

Osakis 6, Minnewaska 1

SINGLES - No. 1 - Leah Maddock (O) def. Megan Thorfinnson (M), 6-2, 6-3; No. 2 - Larissa Hoffarth (O) def. Alia Randt (M), 6-2, 6-2; No. 3 - Bria Hoffarth (O) def. Olivia Danielson (M) 6-2, 6-3; No. 4 - Bella Weisser (O) def. Jayda Kolstoe (M), 4-6, 6-3, 10-3

DOUBLES - No. 1 - Ellie George/Madeline Anderson (O) def. Olivia Bleick/Sydney Dahl (M) 6-1, 6-2; No. 2 - Grace Jensen/Zoey Elwood (M) def. Lauren Anderson/Madi Collins (O) 3-6, 6-3, 10-7; No. 3 - Brenna Moen/Jaclyn Dietrich (O) def. Avarie Uhde/Katy Vold (M) 6-2, 5-7, 10-7; EXTRA - Lydnsey Middendorf/Cora Mathews (O) def. Brianna Erickson/Katie Severson (M), 6-2; Kayla Kulzer/Ambrosia Steinbrecher (O), 6-4

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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