The Osakis girls tennis team lost many talented players from an undefeated team during the shortened season due to the pandemic in 2020. That group of players finished as the Section 6A champions, and a lineup with some new faces on varsity and others shifted into higher positions got right back to that section championship match this season.
The Silverstreaks, 15-7 against what head coach Ryan Maddock felt was a very strong schedule this fall, finished as the 6A runner-up in Rogers on Tuesday as they beat Minnewaska, 4-3, in the semifinals and then fell in a 6-1 match to Class A’s 4th-ranked Litchfield. The Dragons advance to the state tournament as a new addition to Section 6A this year.
“The girls played well today,” Maddock said. “They did a good job of being aggressive and trying to dictate play. Mara VanNyhuis really played well in getting two big wins versus top players in the section. All the girls played their roles well today. It is difficult to beat a good team like Minnewaska twice, so that is a nice accomplishment for the girls.”
VanNyhuis ended her Osakis career on a high note at first singles by beating Litchfield’s Ryanna Steinhaus and Minnewaska’s Alissa Thorfinnson in straight sets.
Osakis took three of the four spots in singles against the Lakers as Kennedy George won at third singles, and Larissa Hoffarth won at the fourth spot. Makenzie Lien and Tessa Stanek added a fourth team point with a 6-0, 6-3 win at second doubles.
Minnewaska got a win from Addy Randt at second singles. Maddie Thorfinnson and Olivia Richards teamed up at first doubles for a win, while Megan Thorfinnson and Sydney Dahl added the third point for Minnewaska with a three-set win at third doubles.
Osakis and Minnewaska both have strong programs that consistently put together winning seasons, and Maddock called depth the key to the Silverstreaks’ run to another section championship appearance.
“We had quality players at all positions,” he said. “We did not have a weak spot and always felt we could be successful at all spots in the lineup, so even when certain spots were particularly strong for opponents, our depth was usually enough to offset that.”
Litchfield is another program in the section now that has shown an ability to match that depth on a consistent basis. It adds another layer of competition for teams like the Lakers and Silverstreaks to contend with.
“In order to overtake a team like Litchfield, we need our players to buy into improving their skills in the summertime and trying to get out and play summer tournaments so they get confidence in playing and winning matches,” Maddock said. “We have really nice kids in our program, so they just need to keep trying to improve themselves to take the next step. The main thing is to keep adding to your game and not being the same level player year after year. Keep trying to make improvements.”
LITCHFIELD 6, OSAKIS 1
SINGLES - No. 1 - Mara VanNyhuis (O) def. Ryanna Steinhaus, 6-1, 6-4; No. 2 - Kylie Michels (L) def. Leah Maddock, 6-3, 6-2; No. 3 - Karlee Prahl (L) def. Kennedy George, 6-3, 6-3; No. 4 - Isla Dille (L) def. Larissa Hoffarth, 1-6, 6-3, 10-7
DOUBLES - No. 1 - Britney Prahl/Lauren Erickson (L) def. Lexi Spychalla/Ellie George, 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 - Taylor Draeger/Olivia Olson (L) def. Makenzie Lien/Tessa Stanek, 6-3, 6-4; No. 3 - Kaitlyn Palmer/Sophie Stilwell (L) def. Bria Hoffarth/Madeline Anderson, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
OSAKIS 4, MINNEWASKA 3
SINGLES - No. 1 - Mara VanNyhuis (O) def. Alissa Thorfinnson, 6-3, 6-0; No. 2 - Addy Randt (M) def. Leah Maddock, 6-2, 6-4; No. 3 - Kennedy George (O) def. Grace Jensen, 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 - Larissa Hoffarth (O) def. Alia Randt, 6-1, 6-1
DOUBLES - No. 1 - Maddie Thorfinnson/Olivia Richards (M) def. Lexi Spychalla/Ellie George, 6-2, 6-1; No. 2 - Makenzie Lien/Tessa Stanek (O) def. Leah Hagen/Olivia Bleick, 6-0, 6-3; No. 3 - Megan Thorfinnson/Sydney Dahl (M) def. Bria Hoffarth/Madeline Anderson, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3