Warriors 6, St. Cloud Tech 1
Key: Brainerd swept the singles matches
Conf: Brd 5-3, STC 0-6
Overall: Brd 6-3, SCT 2-11
Next: Brainerd hosts Duluth Marshall, Hibbing 9 a.m. Saturday, May 11
"Good shot G."
Was a common phrase heard from the hill next to the high school tennis courts Thursday, May 9, in Brainerd.
Brainerd's Garrett Goeden was the one producing those good shots in his No. 2 singles victory, which helped the Brainerd Warriors knock off St. Cloud Tech 6-1. The senior made it hard not to yell, "Good shot G."
"It went well," Goeden said. "I tried to use my power and use finesse both. I was hitting a lot of drop shots when I got him deep behind the baseline. My forehand ground strokes were really penetrating, so I think that was more about depth placement on the court and spin. And so it backed him up and then when he hit a short ball, I brought him in short and it was just too many steps for him to get to it."
Goeden dispatched Ben Nelson in straight sets to improve his season record to 4-5. While not a winning record, it's impressive considering Goeden played varsity doubles since eighth grade for the Warriors.
"The game is completely different," Goeden said. "In doubles, you're trying to put the point away as fast as possible, especially at the net. It's great. It's super aggressive and high energy.
"In singles, you have to be a little more patient. A lot more patient, actually. You have to be willing to hit seven rallies at least. You're out there by yourself. You have to serve one more time than you normally would. All the weight is on your shoulders. You don't have someone next to you to pick you back up."
Goeden couldn't pick one he preferred over the other. He'd play them both if asked, but with the loss of so many singles players from last year's state qualifying team, Goeden figured he'd be in the singles lineup this season.
"I knew going in, since we had graduated a couple of singles guys, that I would have to slide in and I was ready for the challenge," he said. "I was working toward that all winter. I'm starting to figure it out and I'm doing great with it, I think."
The victory improves Brainerd's record to 5-3 in the Central Lakes Conference and 6-3 overall. Goeden said despite the weather and inconsistent schedule, the Warriors are primed for successful playoffs.
"I would say we're playing pretty good as a team," Goeden said. "We're kind of going up and down a little bit, but that's just the learning curve. There's a lot of guys who haven't played a lot of varsity matches so they're getting more used to playing... I think we can do it and I think these guys are ready for the challenge and we're progressing every single day."
One player who is progressing is fellow senior Evan Storbakken, who is juggling tennis and track and field this spring.
"Garrett really pushed for me to come back out," Storbakken said. "He said they could use me so I figured if I could do both at the same time, why not give it a shot? It's definitely been hard for sure missing meets and practices. It's been hard on both. Once it comes time for playoffs, I'll be ready."
It doesn't hurt that Storbakken is paired with junior Ian Aadland at No. 1 doubles. Aadland enjoyed a breakout season last year in doubles play and hasn't missed a step with a new partner.
"I would say we're pretty confident," Aadland said. "He (Storbakken) has track so we missed him a couple of times, but I think when it comes to playoffs we'll be ready to go.
"Having a new partner hasn't been difficult at all. He's been amazing for how much tennis he's played. He's been doing a very good job."
Storbakken improved to 7-1 on the season and Aadland to 7-2 as the pair collected a straight-set victory at No. 1 doubles. The duo won the first set and had to battle in the second set to pull off the 6-4 win.
"We were playing really well," said Aadland. "It was probably the best we've played all season in the first set. They started picking it up and we let up a little bit and they got closer, but we finished it in the end."
Said Storbakken: "Once we got to the net, then we usually finished the point. It was just getting that return back and staying in right away and then we ended up finishing it."
The No. 3 doubles team of Tenny Kelm and Clay Jambor improved to 9-0 with a 6-4, 6-1 victory.
Patrick Moraghan wasn't feeling well, but still rebounded from a first set loss to capture the No. 1 singles win over Richard Zimring 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Keenan Hodge also had to rebound from a first-set loss to win at No. 3 singles and Beck Barber improved to 5-2 on the year with his straight-set victory at No. 4 singles.
Junior varsity winners for Brainerd were Logan Severson, John Pecarich, Luke Meyer, Ben Schlegel, Ben Boberg, Eli McKonkey, Jarrett Osborne, Dylan Miller, Oliver Schwab, Jack Anderson and Gabe Moen.
For more photos, go to https://bit.ly/2Vd6V9C.
Brainerd 6, St. Cloud Tech 1
No. 1: Patrick Moraghan (Brd) def. Richard Zimring 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
No. 2: Garrett Goeden (Brd) def. Ben Nelson 6-1, 6-2
No. 3: Keenan Hodge (Brd) def. Andre Plombon 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
No. 4: Beck Barber (Brd) def. Ben Eiynck 6-1, 6-2
No. 1: Ian Aadland-Evan Storbakken (Brd) def. Emilo Estevez-Michael Plombon 6-1, 6-4
No. 2: Gavin Fenstad-Max Rud (SCT) def. Layton Rivard-Noah Spitzley 7-5, 7-5
No. 3: Clay Jambor-Tenny Kelm (def.) Ripley Garden-Isaac Baker 6-4, 6-1