Boys Tennis: Warriors win 3rd straight

The Brainerd Warriors faced the Aitkin Gobblers on the hard court Monday, May 8.

Brainerd and Aitkin tennis players playing in Crosby-Ironton.
Brainerd's No. 1 singles player Matthew Moraghan hits the ball Monday, May 8, 2023, during a match with Aitkin on the Crosby-Ironton High School courts.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

CROSBY — They have a number of excuses, but the Brainerd Warriors aren’t interested in excuses.

They want wins.

Brainerd secured its third straight win Monday, May 8, on the Crosby-Ironton High School courts as they dispatched the Aitkin Gobblers 7-0.

The Warriors won all seven matches in straight sets, including junior Matthew Moraghan, who captured the No. 1 singles victory 6-1, 6-1 over Zander Peterson.

Moraghan, who was a Class 2A state singles participant as a freshman, is happy with his progression so far in this shortened spring season.


“The season obviously started out tough, but I feel like every match I’m just gaining more confidence and getting more comfortable on the court,” Moraghan said. “Every match is preparing me for the postseason to come.”

Moraghan won both of his matches at the Sartell triangular last week against the Sabres and Bemidji, including a three-set marathon against Bemidji’s Casey Rupp.

Right now, he's working on strategy and his plan of attack. Because of the slow start to the season, the Warriors haven’t had much practice time between matches. Monday was Brainerd’s 12th match of the season.

“It’s going to be tough because in our section there are a lot of great players,” Moraghan said. “I think part of it is just getting match tough and match ready, hitting a lot of balls and just really having some serious practices and really putting in the work on the court.”

Brainerd made quick work of the match Monday as Karlton Anderson won his No. 2 singles match 6-0, 6-3. Brady Johnson dropped just one game in his 6-1, 6-0 No. 3 singles victory and eighth-grader Nick Moraghan won his No. 4 singles match 6-0, 6-2.

“Tonight, we’re missing somebody that is normally in the lineup so it will probably look different again (Tuesday) against Sartell,” Warriors head coach Ellen Fussy said. “With no excuses, but with the weather as it has been for everybody, we just haven’t had a lot of time to see where we think the best fit is for all of our players. Each lineup we’re testing to see if it will work. On Friday, we were able to put George Campbell and Sawyer Riffle together and they played some pretty good doubles. That was a nice surprise for all of us.

“The kids are finally getting comfortable and more confident. I think the confidence has increased especially after beating a good Sartell team and a good Bemidji team.”

The duo of Campbell and Riffle won their match Monday 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles. Gavin Jacobson and Owen Robertson posted a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 3 doubles.


In one of the closer matches, Clark Haglin and Will Aadland topped Aitkin’s Josh Stanley and Wyatt Crowther 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles.

“Your practices are the matches,” Fussy said. “You can’t complain because it’s like this for everybody, but they have to be focused and dialed in right when they step out onto the match because we’ve only had six outside practices. I give the boys a lot of credit because they’ve stayed focused. There hasn’t been any complaining and if you’re going to complain this has been the season for it. We’ve just rolled with it.”

Fussy said the key to getting ready for the postseason is competing in every match from now until the postseason, which is just two weeks away. She added the key is being mentally tough and not letting a bad shot ruin the next point. She said that’s one of Moraghan’s strengths.

“If we had the perfect weather season, I think his game would be a little further along, but I’m never disappointed in his effort, in his ability to read his opponent and how he changes his game according to the style of his opponent," Fussy said. "Matthew is a thinking-man tennis player. His tennis IQ is probably the highest I’ve coached. He knows the game and he knows the angles.”

The Gobblers fall to 3-6, but it’s a unique 3-6 as they’ve battled Brainerd and Grand Rapids and will face Foley Tuesday, May 9. Aitkin is also struggling to work practice into a busy match schedule, but head coach Jen Waldorf appreciates her athletes’ will work

“It’s hard to tell where we are at because we haven’t really practiced and we’ve faced some really tough competition,” Waldorf said. “We get better as the match goes on, but there are so many things that need to be worked on. I don’t think we’ve had six practices outside yet. The guys have full effort. They battle throughout the match. Hopefully, we’ll have a few practices this week and be able to work on some things.”

Waldorf doesn’t mind the tougher schedule because come the postseason her players have seen it all. If the standings hold true before section time, Aitkin might be facing Cloquet. The Gobblers battled the Lumberjacks to a 4-3 loss.

“Playing all of these tough teams, against higher-level talent is good,” Waldorf said. “Our confidence might not be there, but the skills are. We’re fine-tuning. They’re hitting harder and they are being pushed and that’s what you want.”



No. 1: Matthew Moraghan (Brd) def. Zander Peterson 6-1, 6-1

No. 2: Karlton Anderson (Brd) def. Blaise Sanford 6-0, 6-3

No. 3: Brady Johnson (Brd) def. Wyatt Winter 6-1, 6-0

No. 4: Nick Moraghan (Brd) def. Andrew Hudrlik 6-0, 6-2


No. 1: Clark Haglin-Will Aadland (Brd) def. Josh Stanley-Wyatt Crowther 6-1, 6-2

No. 2: George Campbell-Sawyer Riffle (Brd) def. Noland Nordberg-Josh Kukowski 6-0, 6-0

No. 3: Gavin Jacobson-Owen Robertson (Brd) def. Isaac Asmus-Reese Wendlandt 6-1, 6-0

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

Warriors 7, Aitkin 0

Key: Brainerd wins all seven matches in straight sets.

Overall: Brd 5-8, Ait 3-6

Next: Brainerd hosts Sartell 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 9; Aitkin hosts Foley at Crosby-Ironton High School 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 9.

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Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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