Girls Tennis: With season up in the air, Warriors down Lumberjacks

Taylor Ruhl returns a shot Tuesday, Sept. 22, in her No. 3 singles match against Bemidji at Brainerd High School. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

The fists were pumping Tuesday, Sept. 22.

The No. 2 doubles team of Ally Goeden and Brynn Folden were not shy about displaying their excitement about coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the first set to claim a 7-5 (3), 6-3 victory for the Brainerd Warriors who captured the battle of unbeatens with a 6-1 victory over Bemidji at Brainerd High School.

The Warriors improve to 8-0 and hand the Lumberjacks their first loss of the season.

The Warriors’ win tops off an emotional day as just before the match, the team learned the rest of their season is in jeopardy after an email was sent out from Brainerd Superintendent Laine Larson calling for grades 9-12 to go to a distance-learning format because of a “proven and growing cluster of positive COVID-19 cases” in the high school.

“I don’t think we can even have practice tomorrow,” Warriors head coach Lisa Salo said. “It’s just abrupt.”


Salo said the school would be shut down for two weeks and all activities in that time might be called off. While a postseason has not been decided, the tennis regular season has just two weeks remaining in it.

“We just said if we’re going out, we’re going out hard,” Folden said.

Goeden, who is one of five seniors on the tennis team along with Kate Kurtzman, Lily Jones, Kate Chaussee, Chloe Pecarich and Raleigh Mann, said the news was sad.

“We’re going to end strong no matter what happens,” Goeden said. “We can’t control what happens tomorrow, but we can control how we played today and we did that.”

After falling behind 3-0, Salo talked to the group during the changeover and told them to just play the point and the score would take care of itself --that and some raw emotion from each of them.

“I think they were hitting the power game and we were trying to match their power,” Goeden said.

Folden said the key to switching the momentum was movement.

“We just needed to hit some balls and make them uncomfortable by moving them around,” Folden said. “They didn’t want to do that.”


Amidst a flurry of “let’s go” the two dominated the second set to secure the fourth point for Brainerd.

“Every time you hear me say ‘let’s go’ or you see Brynne do a fist pump, well, I guess either of us do a fist pump, that means we’re hyped and we’re ready to go,” Goeden said.

Despite being the first year together, both agreed it didn’t take long for the two to become one team. The recipe was energy and jokes.

“Our energy,” Goeden said. “We can really match each other on a gritty level. Brynne plays hockey so she just has that intensity from hockey and I just kind of have this natural intensity and putting it together is super fun.”

Shortly after the No. 2 doubles win, Catherine Moraghan finished off her No. 2 singles opponent 6-3, 6-3.

The Warriors’ depth, which Salo had been praising all season long, was on full display as Taylor Ruhl won 6-3, 6-1 at No. 3 singles and Lindsy Busch captured a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 4 singles.

The No. 3 doubles team of Lila Collins-Ella Chaussee captured a 6-3, 6-3 victory.

“Our depth showed today,” Salo said. “We’re deep and the girls know it and they understand that and we talk about how our toughest competition is at practice when we look at each other from across the net and that is so cool because everybody gets a chance to get stronger. Then we can be prepared for a team like Bemidji who is so well-coached and is also a gritty team.”


Brainerd 6, Bemidji 1
No. 1: Savannah Haugen (Bem) def. Kate Kurtzman 6-2, 6-1
No. 2: Catherine Moraghan (Brd) def. Emily Dondelinger 6-3, 6-3
No. 3: Taylor Ruhl (Brd) def. Tatum Offerdahl 6-3, 6-1
No. 4: Lindsy Busch (Brd) def. Darby Neis 6-1, 6-0

No. 1: Lily Jones-Kate Chaussee (Brd) def. Lexi Leitner-Nettie Kimble 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
No. 2: Ally Goeden-Brynne Folden (Brd) def. Chloe Hagbargen-Paige Anderson 7-6 (3), 6-2
No. 3: Lila Collins-Ella Chaussee (Brd) def. Margie Anderson-Mollie Rupp 6-2, 6-3

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or Follow on Twitter at

Warriors 6, Bemidji 1

Key: The Warriors grabbed 3 singles wins and 3 doubles wins

Overall: Brd 8-0, Bem 6-1


Next: TBD

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