Boys Tennis: Warrior opens at state vs. familiar foe
Class 2A state singles Who: Brainerd's Tanner Lundberg What: Class 2A state singles tournament Where: Baseline Tennis Center, University of Minnesota When: 8 a.m. Thursday and Friday Tanner Lundberg believes he has played and defeated Orono's Con...
Class 2A state singles
Who: Brainerd's Tanner Lundberg
What: Class 2A state singles tournament
Where: Baseline Tennis Center, University of Minnesota
When: 8 a.m. Thursday and Friday
Tanner Lundberg believes he has played and defeated Orono's Conner Olsen somewhere in the summer tennis circuit during the past few years.
Lundberg hopes for a similar result Thursday when he meets Olsen in the opening round of the Class 2A state singles tournament at the University of Minnesota. He will be the Warriors' first state singles competitor since Paul Tuchscherer played in the 2002 tournament.
On the eve of playing in his first state tournament, the Brainerd Warrior sophomore said he was "nervous and excited."
"Hopefully I can play my 'A' game and possibly win a few matches," he said.
If Lundberg beats Olsen, he would face the winner between second-seeded sophomore Sebastian Vile of Rochester Mayo and Mahtomedi junior Spencer Wick, two players he has never faced. Vile won the 2A state consolation championship in 2015.
Warriors' coach Bruce Thompson is certain Lundberg will be competitive and will give his all in his state debut.
"Tanner's got a really solid game," Thompson said. "He's a great hitter from the baseline, he can sneak in to get to volleys. I would like to see him pressure a little more at the net, but he's a smart player. He plays a smart game. You will never see him get up or down on any points. He will stay in every point.
"I think he hasn't been challenged to play his best yet. In our section tournament, the better players jumped into doubles. (St. Cloud Tech's Riley) Peterson and (Lucas) Conboy jumped into doubles, knowing maybe they could get through there instead of maybe not one of them getting through on the singles side.
"Tanner's got a game, a nice game. He's very crafty. It's been fun to see him grow."
Lundberg carries a 22-2 mark into his state debut. His only losses were to Peterson 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in the fourth meet of the season April 19 and to Hibbing's Scott Perunovich 7-5, 3-6, 10-8 May 14. Lundberg avenged the loss to Peterson beating him 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 May 20.
"(The state tournament) brings him to another level," Thompson said. "It will be stepped up in play. Tanner lost to Peterson, who he later beat and had a tiebreaker loss to Perunovich. That's it. (The Perunovich) match he just as easily could have won as he lost.
"Tanner competes. He doesn't quit. He plays some points maybe where you think he's out of it and he gets the ball back in play and he's right back in it. He's got great hands, he's quick, he anticipates well. You've got to hit a pretty good shot to get by him."
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or 218-855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .