Boys Tennis: Warriors make quick work of Willmar
The Brainerd Warriors host the Willmar Cardinals in boys' tennis.
Perhaps they were worried about colder temperatures.
Maybe they felt bad about Willmar’s two and half hour bus ride home.
Or just maybe there was a lot of homework to get done.
Whatever the reason, the Brainerd Warriors didn’t take long to hand the Willmar Cardinals a 7-0 Central Lakes Conference loss Thursday, April 15, at Brainerd High School.
Of the seven matches, only two were not 6-0, 6-0 sweeps. In all, the Warriors dropped just three games to improve to 1-0 in the conference and 2-2 overall.
Having already played three matches may have been another key to the Warrior win.
“It was their first match of the year and we had one day where we had three matches so obviously we gained some confidence from that,” Brainerd’s No. 1 singles player Beck Barber said. “We just took it to them today. It was their first match so obviously, there were some nerves there. For us, we just showed what we’ve been working on all winter.”
Barber’s 6-0, 6-0 singles win was the first match to end. The junior enjoyed a consistent serve and felt his strategy was the key to the quick win.
“I tried to draw him to the net more because those types of players don’t like coming forward,” Barber said. “So I drew him to the net and once there, I hit it past him. It was just really working for me the whole time. My serve was working well so that was just helping even more.”
Playing with a solid serve and confidence was a product of trying to get in as much competition over last summer. Barber said not having a season last spring made the thought of jumping up to No. 1 singles this year daunting, but he prepared himself for the task.
“Me and a few other guys played quite a few tournaments over the summer down in the cities which really helped us gain some confidence for this year,” he said.
Matthew Moraghan and Eli McConkey each scored 6-0, 6-0 singles victories. Ben Bogerg dropped one game on his way to a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 4 singles.
“We’re trying to have them work on their game and work on maybe different shots that they wouldn’t play in a game that they might be a little more pressed in,” Warriors head coach Ellen Fussy said. “We want to work on their placement rather than their power and play with a little more confidence.
"Sometimes when you’re playing an opponent who is at a different level, whether that level is higher or lower than yours, we tend to play tight. I think we played well today. I can’t complain about the scores across the board, but you want to play loose and have fun playing the game that they love.”
Noah Madsen and Karlton Anderson dispatched their No. 1 doubles opponent 6-0, 6-0. That was the score of Will Aadland-Clark Haglin’s No. 2 doubles match.
“We’re working on their personal match management,” Fussy said. “When they go out there and they get 10 minutes to warm up with their opponent and in 10 minutes they need to come up with a strategy. Each player plays differently and they need to come up with where their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses are and what they can expose from that player.”
Ben Schlegl-Jalen Emslander collected the seventh and final point with a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 3 doubles.
“Obviously we’re still finding out our roles on the team and we’re still finding out who is singles and who is doubles,” Barber said. “As soon as we find that and get it locked in, we should have a pretty good team and be able to make a state run and play well.”
Brainerd 7, Willmar 0
No. 1: Beck Barber (Brd) def. Alan Millan 6-0, 6-0
No. 2: Matthew Moraghan (Brd) def. Jorge Zelaya Velasquez 6-0, 6-0
No. 3: Eli McConkey (Brd) def. Andrew Zibarth 6-0, 6-0
No. 4: Ben Boberg (Brd) def. David Thaden 6-1, 6-0
Extra: Gavin Jacobson (Brd) def. Daunte Castellano 6-0, 6-0
No. 1: Noah Madsen-Karlton Anderson (Brd) def. Mateo Engan-Jordy Conteras 6-0, 6-0
No. 2: Will Aadland-Clark Haglin (Brd) def. Matthew Johnson-Joshua Jensen 6-0, 6-0
No. 3: Ben Schlegl-Jalen Emslander (Brd) def. Isaac Zelaya Velasquez-Jonathon Kelpe 6-1, 6-1
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop .
Warriors 7, Willmar 0
Key: Warriors dropped just three games
Conference: Brd 1-0
Overall: Brd 2-2
Next: Brainerd hosts Sartell 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 16.