Three Warrior singles players did not drop a set as third-seeded Brainerd advanced to the North Subsection 8-2A semifinals with a 6-1 win over sixth-seeded Moorhead Spuds Monday, May 24.
Karlton Anderson finished his match first for Brainerd with a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 2 singles.
“I wanted to serve hard and not hit it to the other guys while going up to the net,” Anderson said. “I felt like I did OK. I hit it to the opponent more often than I would have liked to. But I was serving really well.”
A new serve tactic Anderson tried had his Moorhead opponent frustrated the entire match.
“I’ve been trying to get a little more kick into my serve,” Anderson said. “I don’t think my opponent liked that very much.”
Noah Madsen at No. 3 singles and Ben Boberg No. 4 singles also didn’t drop a set in the opening round of subsections for the Warriors.
The Warriors swept the doubles with the No. 1 tandem of RJ Campbell and Beck Barber leading the way with a 6-0, 6-1 win.
In their match, Campbell and Barber were focused on what they need to improve on in preparation for Bemidji, who Brainerd will face in the subsection semifinals Wednesday, May 26.
“(Bemidji’s) No. 1 doubles team is really tough,” Campbell said. “We went into this match knowing we still had to fight for the win.”
Barber added: “We are just focusing on setting our serves and finishing our volleys. Every match we’ve been in has been neck-and-neck. It’s just about finishing on the clutch points.”
Campbell and Barber started playing together midway through the season. Barber switched over from singles to be paired with Campbell.
Campbell said the two started hanging out more outside of practice and that improved their chemistry.
“We’ve come a long way since when we first started playing together,” Campbell said. “Hanging out outside of tennis has really pulled us together more than just being on the court together. We’ve also done a lot more hitting outside of practice together. Playing together more also has really brought up our confidence.”
Barber was Brainerd’s No. 1 singles player at the start of the year. He’s adjusted to playing doubles.
“It was a good jump for the team,” Barber said. “It really hasn’t been too different, just a couple more volleys at the nets and you really need to finish the points.”
Eli McConkey and Clark Haglin dispatched their Moorhead opponent at No. 2 doubles 6-2, 6-1 while it took a super tiebreaker at No. 3 doubles for Jalen Emslander and Will Aadland to get the win 3-6, 6-4, 10-3.
Matthew Moraghan was the lone loss for Brainerd at No. 1 singles, but it took a super tiebreaker to knock him off 2-6, 6-2, 12-10.
Brainerd fell to the Lumberjacks 5-2 April 22 and more recently lost 4-3 May 11.
Anderson at No. 2 singles was the last one to finish in the match two weeks ago and lost 6-3, 5-7, 6-0 to Bemidji’s No. 2 Noah Johnson.
“If I keep serving well and go up to the net more that will help me,” Anderson said. “I just need to keep my energy up and stay hydrated. When I get up to the net I just need to keep my racket up and stay on my toes and be ready for a hard ball at me. It’ll be close against Bemidji.”
Barber and Campbell won at No. 1 doubles 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 May 11 and will hope to repeat that Wednesday.
“We just snuck past them last time,” Barber said. “But that was maybe our second match together. So we were just getting used to it. Now we are more comfortable, so we should be ready for Bemidji.”
Brainerd 6, Moorhead 1
No. 1: Ives Hilgers (M) def. Matthew Moraghan 2-6, 6-2 12-10
No. 2: Karlton Anderson (Brd) def. Lane Cirks 6-0, 6-0
No. 3: Noah Madsen (Brd) def. Isidiro Lopez 6-0, 6-0
No. 4: Ben Boberg (Brd) def. Elliot Kane 6-0, 6-0
No. 1: RJ Campbell-Beck Barber (Brd) def. Adam Pettys-Oscer Bergeson 6-0, 6-1
No. 2: Eli McConkey-Clark Haglin (Brd) def. Henry Skatvold-Brady Hansen 6-2, 6-1
No. 3: Jalen Emslander-Will Aadland (Brd) def. Ben Voxland-Mason Voxland 3-6, 6-4 10-3
Warriors 6, Moorhead 1
Key: Warriors dominate on the home court to advance to North Subsection 8-2A semifinals
Overall: Brd 12-10
Next: Brainerd at Bemidji in North Subsection 8-2A team semifinals 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 26.
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.