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Girls Tennis: Warriors advance to section quarters with sweep

Brainerd hosts St. Francis in the Section 7-2A Tournament Tuesday, Oct. 5

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Brainerd Warrior Ella Chaussee returns the ball during the opening round of the Section 7-2A playoffs Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at the Brainerd High School. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
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Efficient matches.

That’s what Brainerd Warriors head coach Lisa Salo was looking for out of her team in the opening round of the Section 7-2A tournament Tuesday, Oct. 5.

She got what she wished for as the fourth-seeded Warriors cruised to a 7-0 win over the 13th-seeded St. Francis Fighting Saints to advance to the section quarterfinals Thursday, Oct. 7.

“We really look at it like it’s our next match,” Salo said. “We know it’s playoff time, but we are going to take this one step at a time and use our season to build on. We had a tremendous regular season prior to tournament time, so we can use that and we know our strengths and play our game.”

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Catherine Moraghan made quick work of her opponent 6-2, 6-0 at No. 3 singles for Brainerd. She lost the first two games in the first set until rattling off 12 straight wins to complete her win in straight sets.

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“Once postseason comes around I always just try to narrow my focus,” Moraghan said. “Just focusing on the end goal of playing clean and getting the job done. I kind of got off to a slow start today, but then I just tried to up my footwork and be aggressive and just commit to shots and swing freely.”

Taylor Ruhl at No. 2 singles also won swiftly 6-1, 6-0.

“I just focused on not making so many errors in the net,” Ruhl said. “I was using more top-spin to loop the ball over the net. I tried to go to the net more too because I can win points more easily there.”

Ruhl said the team isn’t trying to treat the section playoffs differently than a regular match.

“We are trying to reduce unforced errors and getting more first serves in,” she said.

Brainerd’s No. 1 doubles team of Brynne Folden-Lila Collins continued its strong play in the section playoffs with a 6-1, 6-0 victory.

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“We look at a team effort and that’s what we want,” Salo said. “Everyone’s effort makes a difference and it all contributes to the team's results. Catherine Moraghan had a pretty clean match as did first doubles and at second singles, too, with Taylor. We just look for clean, efficient matches.”

Lindsy Busch and Ericah Folden played the only three-set match and won 6-1, 4-6, 6-0.

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Ella Chaussee at No. 1 singles clinched the win for the Warriors with a 6-2, 6-4 win to give Brainerd its fourth win of the day.

Lacy Busch completed the sweep at singles for Brainerd with a 7-5, 6-2 win.

“Our singles lineup is great,” Moraghan said. “We just try to push each other and just make each other better in practice and I think the results are showing.”

The No. 3 doubles team Avery Anakkala and Claire Erdal won 6-4, 6-3 to complete the sweep.

Brainerd will host a quarterfinal match Thursday against No. 5 Hibbing.

“We are used to the one-day practice and then we compete,” Salo said. “We are going to prepare for that next match and we know it will be a stronger match and we’ll be ready. We are in the process of fine tuning. We aren’t going to add a new element to our game. We are just going to fine tune and prepare more mentally. Our girls train hard — they do a good job of working hard at the times we do at practice.”

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Brainerd 7, St. Francis 0
Singles
No. 1: Ella Chaussee (Brd) def. Lindsey Salmees 6-2, 6-4
No. 2: Taylor Ruhl (Brd) def. Cally Peterson 6-1, 6-0
No. 3: Catherine Moraghan (Brd) def. Grace Jauermg 6-2, 6-0
No. 4: Lacy Busch (Brd) def. Macy Hass 7-5, 6-2

Doubles
No. 1: Brynne Folden-Lila Collins (Brd) def. Madison Rombauer-Alexa Skogqust 6-1, 6-0
No. 2: Lindsy Busch-Ericah Folden (Brd) def. Edosa Ogbemuda-Josie Lupinek 6-1, 4-6, 6-0
No. 3: Avery Anakkala-Claire Erdal (Brd) def. Kaylee Hemmegan-Mya Branthen 6-4, 6-3

Warriors 7, St. Francis 0

Key: Warriors make swift work of St. Francis in the opening round of Section 7-2A tournament.

Overall: Brd 16-1.

Next: Brainerd hosts Hibbing 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7.

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