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Area Girls Tennis: Warriors finish second to Tech again

SARTELL--Once again the top-two seeded teams in Section 8-2A met to determine who gets to go to state. And once again, it was South's No. 1 seeded St. Cloud Tech Tigers shutting the door on North's No. 1 seeded Brainerd Warriors, this time with a...

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SARTELL-Once again the top-two seeded teams in Section 8-2A met to determine who gets to go to state.

And once again, it was South's No. 1 seeded St. Cloud Tech Tigers shutting the door on North's No. 1 seeded Brainerd Warriors, this time with a 6-1 victory in the 8-2A Team championship match at Sta-Fit Friday.

Brainerd's last trip to state was in 2011-the last of three straight state appearances. Since then, Tech has stood in the Brainerd's way every year.

Hannah Rud and Heidi Jacobson posted the only win for the Warriors defeating Lauren Brettingen-Carly Heine at No. 3 doubles 6-2, 6-3. Rud-Jacobson were the only winners for Brainerd when Tech beat the Warriors 6-1 Sept. 19 during the regular season.

Rud and Jacobson finish the season undefeated as a doubles team with a 24-0 record.

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Nicole Rud and Maria Bell fought a tight match at No. 2 doubles before losing in three, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. The remaining Warriors were defeated in straight sets.

"All season we've talked about winning the battle and competing," said Brainerd head coach Lisa Salo. "Since we only see Tech once during the regular season, we literally have a team goal every year of 'Meet Tech Twice' which means we would be seeing them in the section finals."

The Warriors entered title match 19-2, their only other loss was against Wayzata 7-0 Sept. 28. Tech came into championship match 15-1, its only loss to Edina, 5-2, in their season opener Aug. 22.

"To end second in the section to a team we know is worthy of a state ranking is nothing to hang our heads about," Salo said. "We know Tech will do well at state. Tech has helped our team grow-you want to face competitive teams and they've actually made us better."

Salo said she was pleased and proud of this year's Warrior team.

"This is a team that's responded every match, and we gone out and stepped up with confidence and poise, using great strategies and competing well," she said. "That's all we can ask and we have nothing to hang our heads about. We proud of them and our entire coaching staff is grateful to be part of such a great program."

Though their team season is over, the Warriors continue play Saturday in the Section 8-2A Individual tournament with Fitterer in singles and Libby Kurtzman-Taya Person and Nicole Rud-Maria Bell in doubles competing for trips to the state individual tournament.

Semifinals: Brainerd 7, Becker 0

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Earlier Friday, Brainerd defeated South No. 3 Becker 7-0 in the section semifinals.

Salo explained that with only four indoor courts at Sta Fit, the singles and doubles matches were played in reverse order.

The first match to finish was No. 3 singles which Kate Kurtzman won 6-0, 6-1. Rud and Jacobson followed soon after with a 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 3 doubles.

At No. 1 singles, Fitterer was leading 6-0, 3-0 when her opponent had to retire with an injury.

The final match to be finished was at No. 2 singles where Britney Fletcher was tied 0-6, 7-5 and Brainerd leading 6-0. With the match outcome already decided, by rule her third set was shortened to a tiebreak which she won 10-7 completing the sweep.

The only match to go three full sets was at No. 4 singles where Audrey Collins outlasted her opponent 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Despite the 7-0 score, Salo felt Becker was a strong, competitive opponent.

"We hadn't met them during the year," said Salo. "They were slated to be in our Lake Hubert Tournament, but had to pull out, so we hadn't seen them at all this year.

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"We knew from seeing them last year that they were a strong team and expected a competitive match. We just took control, and we were calm, confident and poised throughout the whole match."

Semifinals

Brainerd 7, Becker 0

Singles

No. 1: Payge Fitterer (Brd) def. Anna Ritchie 6-0, 3-0, retired with injury

No. 2: Britney Fletcher (Brd) def. Taylor Pawlicki 0-6, 7-5, 10-7

No. 3: Kate Kurtzman (Brd) def. Courtney Nuest 6-0, 6-1

No. 4: Audrey Collins (Brd) def. Blair Pappenfus 6-2, 3-6, 6-3

Doubles

No. 1: Libby Kurtzman-Taya Person (Brd) def. Hannah Bengtson-Megan Nelson 7-5, 6-1

No. 2: Nicole Rud-Maria Bell (Brd) def. Alayna Lindquist-Payton Bernstrom 6-3, 7-5

No. 3: Hannah Rud-Heidi Jacobson (Brd) def. Julia Bengtson-Ally Kangas 6-1, 6-2

Championship

St. Cloud Tech 6, Brainerd 1

Singles

No. 1: Katelyn Tarrolly (SCT) def. Payge Fitterer 6-2, 6-1

No. 2: Ashley Tarrolly (SCT) def. Britney Fletcher 6-0, 6-0

No. 3: Kate Inderieden (SCT) def. Kate Kurtzman 6-0, 6-1

No. 4: Natalie Peterson (SCT) def. Audrey Collins 6-3, 6-3

Doubles

No. 1: Anne Bowe-Rebekah Zweiner (SCT) def. Libby Kurtzman-Taya Person 6-3, 6-2

No. 2: Courtney Donnelly-Natalie Kuntz (SCT) def. Nicole Rud-Marie Bell 5-7, 6-3, 6-3

No. 3: Hannah Rud-Heidi Jacobson (Brd) def. Lauren Brettingen-Carly Heine 6-2, 6-3

Overall: B 19-3. Next: Brainerd in Section 8-2A Individual Tournament at Sta-Fit, Sartell: Payge Fitterer in singles first round 9 a.m., Libby Kurtzman-Taya Person and Nicole Rud-Maria Bell in doubles first round 10:30 a.m.; semifinals 12:30 p.m.; championship and third-place matches 3 p.m.; true second-place matches (if necessary) 6 p.m.

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