Boys Tennis: Brainerd bounces Tech for second time
Steven Low improvised on the fly and it worked.
The sophomore fell behind early in his No. 2 singles match and the deficit grew bigger against St. Cloud Tech's Troy Feddema. Low spotted his opponent four quick points before he manufactured a stroke.
The result was a 6-4, 6-1 victory, which helped the Brainerd Warriors to a 6-1 win over the perennial Central Lakes Conference favorite Tigers Thursday in Brainerd. The victory pushes the Warriors to 8-0 in the conference and 16-0 overall and makes it the first time since 2009 that Brainerd swept Tech in the regular season. The Warriors topped Tech 4-3 April 25.
For Low, the victory was a good high.
"He was picking on my forehand," said Low. "I have a wrist injury, but I just had to always stay in the point. I couldn't really hit like I normally do and so I had to slice it back throughout the whole match. I had to adjust my game to where I could place a slice offensively and defensively."
While Low struggled with his forehand, he jumped on the chance to use his backhand in the second set, which led to the easy win.
"I just stayed really aggressive," Low said. "I placed every shot. I stayed in every point and I came to the net a lot and I was able to put him away."
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Warriors 6, Tech 1
- Key: Warriors swept the singles matches
- Conf: Brd 8-0, Tech 4-1
- Overall: Brd 16-0, Tech 7-4
- Next: Brainerd hosts Warrior Triangular with Duluth Marshall and Hibbing 9 a.m. Saturday, May 12
- For photo gallery go to https://bit.ly/2jM4E58
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The first time Tech and Brainerd squared off, Low faced Richard Zimring, who was out of Thursday's lineup with an injury. Rebounding from that loss was a boost to Low's confidence.
"It was my first time ever playing this guy and I was really nervous," Low said. "I just adjusted. You have to have all the strokes in your arsenal. You need to have every kind of shot in order to adjust to another player's game. If you can't you're not going to be able to win a lot of matches."
Brainerd adjusted its doubles lineup with senior Nathan Rud nursing a shoulder injury. Normally at No. 1 doubles with Garrett Goeden, Rud teamed with Ian Aadland to score a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 No. 2 doubles win.
The No. 3 doubles team of Camden Cooper and Matthew Hintz posted a straight-set win.
"Rud has been on the shelf for a number of days and yet he's out there banging it away," Warriors head coach Bruce Thompson said. "I'm kind of thinking just take it easy, but that didn't happen. They played a real nice third set. They struggled early as it was the first time those two had really played together, but I felt that was the move to make.
"I wasn't sandbagging him at all. It's a place with him being on the shelf for the last couple of days. It was more about being cautious."
Senior Tanner Lundberg had the easiest go of it Thursday with a 6-0, 6-1 No. 1 singles victory over Kevin Heller.
Jacob Hodge didn't suffer a Warrior Athlete of the Week curse as he posted a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 3. Kennan Hodge outlasted Ben Nelson for a three-set win at No. 4 singles.
"Steven played a better match than he has in past matches," Thompson said. "We're still trying to figure some stuff out. I don't think I've gotten the best match out of him yet.
"Jacob Hodge continues to find a way to win and I was really impressed with Kennan coming back in that third set."
Thursday's win gives the Warriors a nice cushion in the conference standings with nine points, but Thompson knows his team wants another go with Tech in the Section 8-2A finals.
"Confidence is one thing, but staying humble is another," Thompson said. "We have to stay humble. We're still the underdogs because Tech can play this match and not really worry about anything. They know there is one more match coming and the big prize is a trip to state. We haven't been there for a long, long time and that's the one we really want. That would put a stamp on a very good season.
"No. 1, you have to believe you can. No. 2, you have to work on your game and No. 3, you have to stay humble. We can't start thinking we're better than we really are."
Junior varsity winners for Brainerd were Logan Severson, Ben Schlegel and Luke Meyer in singles. Doubles winners were Jack Anderson-Dylan Miller, Devin Emslander-Noah Blum, Alec Hins-Luke Meyer and Westin Andres-Jake Mitchell.
Warriors 6, Tech 1
No. 1: Tanner Lundberg (Brd) def. Kevin Heller 6-0, 6-1
No. 2: Steven Low (Brd) def. Troy Feddema 6-4, 6-1
No. 3: Jacob Hodge (Brd) def. David Wentzel 6-3, 6-4
No. 4: Keenan Hodge (Brd) def. Ben Nelson 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-4
No. 1: Scott Kippley-Nick Portz (Tech) def. Garrett Goeden-Patrick Moraghan 6-4, 6-0
No. 2: Nathan Rud-Ian Aadland (Brd) def. Steven Miller-Cody Monjeau 6-3, 5-7, 6-1
No. 3: Camden Cooper-Matthew Hintz (Brd) def. Nate Trewick-Noah Althaus 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (8-6)