It didn’t start out perfect, but it’s been nothing but ever since.
The pairing of Addie Sanford and Chloe Pecarich at No. 2 doubles was a good fit in the mind of Brainerd Warriors head girls tennis coach Lisa Salo. But when the results started coming back not even Salo expected the type of success the two have enjoyed.
“My hope was that they would complement one another,” Salo said. “In a doubles position, you often look for that. They’re both very athletic girls and they’re both tall and that’s a little imposing.
“Addie has the ability for some really strong net play with her volleys and overheads. It’s certainly her strength. And she’s starting to see that and build on that and becoming more aggressive. Chloe has the groundstroke consistency. If Chloe is back there, winning that groundstroke battle is important to setting up Addie, but then Chloe isn’t afraid of the net either.”
Sanford-Pecarich opened their 2019 campaign with a 6-0, 6-0 victory in a dual win over Hill Murray. The duo suffered a three-set defeat in their next match against Foley. The tandem rebounded with a perfect 3-0 outing at the Delano Tournament Aug. 22 to win the No. 2 doubles title.
“I would say at our Delano Tournament was when we clicked because we got to play a lot of tougher teams and we got to play multiple times that day,” Sanford said. “We finally realized that this was working and we clicked really well that day.”
Pecarich said she realized right away that good things would come from this pairing.
“The first time we played together, I knew we were going to be pretty good,” Perarich said. “We had just been trying different groups and those went well and I thought that was working, but then I played with Addie and it was just like, wow. This is really working.”
Since the Delano Tournament, the pair have been perfect with highlight wins coming at the Brainerd Moose Tournament where Sanford-Pecarich finished 4-0 to grab another No. 2 doubles win in a tournament.
They opened with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Roseau and then battled to a 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 win against New Prague. Sanford-Pecarich defeated Coon Rapids 7-6 (11), 7-5 and topped the day off by beating Pequot Lakes 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 for the title.
“That was pretty important that we battled out those wins because now we know what it takes,” Sandford said. “We didn’t get down on ourselves and we were confident enough to say, ‘we can do this. We can finish strong to come out with the win,’ Come tournament time that’s going to help us out tremendously.”
In Brainerd’s 4-3 Central Lakes Conference victory over St. Cloud Tech -- the Warriors’ first in eight years, Sanford-Pecarich posted a 6-2, 6-0 win. Both girls said the team victory was the highlight of their high school careers so far.
“Our confidence has grown a lot,” Pecarich said. “I don’t know if that’s because we haven’t lost or if we’re just better playing together, but we are helping each other out with that.
“We are very good at communicating with each other and we just have really great chemistry on the court.”
The two improved to 13-1 Tuesday, Sept. 10, with a 6-1, 6-0 victory against Sartell. That helped Brainerd remain unbeaten in the conference at 3-0 and 6-2 overall.
“They complement each other and play with complimentary styles,” Salo said. “Them getting that chemistry of knowing where each other is on the court and just that connection that is so important when you pair two players together to play doubles -- they have that. I’m impressed with their ability to stay composed and poised. That's really improved, especially when they are down in the match.”
The season has been so perfect so far Sanford said she couldn’t imagine anything better.
“I honestly couldn’t picture this going any better,” Sanford said. “This is a dream come true for me.”
Other notable performances
Avery Eckman, volleyball, finished with 19 kills and 19 digs against Sartell and added 10 kills, nine digs, three blocks and three ace serves against Sauk Rapids. She totaled 35 kills at the Sauk Rapids tournament.
Gabbie Smith, girls soccer, scored three goals and assisted on another against St. Cloud Tech.
Josie Kramer, girls soccer, assisted on three goals and scored one against St. Cloud Tech.
Isaac Foster, boys soccer, scored two goals, including the game winner, against Sartell.
Jenna Host, swimming and diving, won the 50- and 500-yard freestyles and was part of the winning 400 freestyle relay against St. Cloud Apollo.
Position: No. 2 doubles
Height: 5-foot-10 1/2
Career highlight: Beating St. Cloud Tech as a team and winning the Delano Tournament
Other sports: Tennis
Grade-point average: 3.6
Favorite class: English
Favorite food: Spaghetti
Favorite movie: “Cheaper by the Dozen”
Favorite TV show: “Blue Bloods”
Favorite website or app: Instagram
Favorite restaurant: Rosallini’s in Aitkin
Future plans: Attend University of Mary in Bismarck and study elementary education
Favorite athlete: Andy Roddick
Parents: Tom and Steffanie Sanford
Position: No. 2 doubles
Career highlight: Beating St. Cloud Tech
Favorite class: Algebra
Favorite food: Strawberries
Favorite movie: All of them
Favorite TV show: “Grey’s Anatomy''
Favorite website or app: Instagram, Snapchat
Favorite restaurant: Chick-fil-A
Future plans: Possibly attend University of Minnesota, Duluth for medicine.
Favorite athlete: Roger Federer
Parents: Matt and Jill Pecarich