The Alexandria tennis team felt it had every chance of winning its second round Section 8AA Tournament match against Bemidji on Thursday night, but the Lumberjacks defended their home courts in a 5-2 final.
Bemidji was seeded second in the North half of the field, while Alexandria came in seeded third. It was a battle of two winning teams this year, and it played out with some close matches. The Lumberjacks found a way to win most of those to advance to the semifinals.
“It was a hard-fought match from both teams and our girls can hold their heads high as they gave it everything they had,” Alexandria head coach Dave Ronning said. “Bemidji was simply a little better than us on this day. Bemidji is solid from the top of their lineup to the bottom. We felt we had chances at three of the singles spots and two of the doubles spots. Unfortunately, we were only able to get one of each.”
The win in singles came at the fourth spot, where senior Jaya Hatlestad finished off a solid final season with a 6-2, 6-3 win. Bemidji’s Savannah Haugen, Emily Dondelinger and Tatum Offerdahl each won in straight sets in the top three spots.
Kaylee Svee and Whitly Netland got the Cardinals’ win in the doubles lineup at the top spot. They won 6-2 in the first before holding off their Brainerd counterparts 7-6 (2) in the second. Maci Tilleskjor and Grace Reed fought through a tight two-setter at third doubles, but Bemidji’s Marie Anderson and Mollie Rupp won 6-3, 7-5. Tabea Roggenbuck also had a close match at second singles, but fell in a long 6-4, 6-3 final.
Alexandria finished its season 9-3 overall and 7-1 in the Central Lakes Conference.
“We felt fortunate just to be able to play tennis at all this season, and to enjoy the success these girls had was a real pleasure,” Ronning said.
Thursday was the final match for eight seniors who all had a big impact on the program. Brianna Holm, Sarah Jiang, Hatlestad, Svee, Netland, Anna Doherty, Tilleskjor and Reed will all be big shoes to fill going into the 2021 season.
“I can't say I have ever had a season where all the seniors were in the lineup on a consistent basis like this one,” Ronning said. “These girls put a lot into our program and kept it at a high level for the past three to four seasons. They can be very proud of what they accomplished. We as coaches hope and pray some of the things they learned from this sport will benefit them throughout their lives. These eight will be dearly missed.”
BEMIDJI 5, ALEXANDRIA 2
SINGLES - No. 1 - Savannah Haugen (B) def. Brianna Holm, 6-2, 6-0; No. 2 - Emily Dondelilnger (B) def. Tabea Roggenbuck, 6-4, 6-3; No. 3 - Tatum Offerdahl (B) def. Sarah Jiang, 6-4, 6-0; No. 4 - Jaya Hatlestad (A) def. Darby Neis, 6-2, 6-3
DOUBLES - No. 1 - Kaylee Svee/Whitly Netland (A) won, 6-2, 7-6 (2); No. 2 - Chloe Hasbargen/Paige Anderson (B) def. Anna Doherty/MaKenna Aure, 6-3, 6-1; No. 3 - Marie Anderson/Mollie Rupp (B) def. Maci Tilleskjor/Grace Reed, 6-3, 7-5