It’s a new section, new opponents, new year and almost new everything for the Brainerd Warriors girls tennis team so it’s hard to predict much.
Warriors head coach Lisa Salo had no trouble predicting her No. 1 double team of senior Brynne Folden and sophomore Lila Collins would be competitive.
“Brynne is aggressive,” Salo said. “She refuses to lose and she’s learning how to read the court and be really smart about her decision making as to what shot she’s going to hit and where she’s going to place it. But mainly, it’s her aggressiveness. She loves to take care of anything at the net.”
Salo said one of Collins’ biggest attributes is her quickness.
“She’s a very fast athlete,” Salo said. “You just never know where she’s going to be on the court. That and her tenacity of not giving up. She’s going to continue to wear her opponents down. Her entire game has improved. She’s earned her opportunity to compete at a No. 1 doubles position.”
When asked how each complements the other’s play they both answered the same.
“She’s very good at the baseline and very consistent,” Folden said. “She sets me up for a lot of overheads and volleys that I can take at the net.”
Said Collins: “Brynne is really good at the net and I’m really good at setting her up for shots up there.”
The duo opened their week with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over the team from Sauk Rapids Tuesday, Sept. 7.
Their second match of the week was a bit more challenging as the pair scored a 7-5, 6-1 victory against Fergus Falls Thursday, Sept. 9.
That set the two up for the Moose Tournament Saturday, Sept. 11, hosted by Roseau, but played at Brainerd High School.
Folden-Collins won the No. 1 doubles division helping Brainerd to a second-place team finish.
The doubles team went 4-0 on the day to improve their overall record as a pair to 12-1.
“We were very confident,” Folden said. “We had been having lots of success throughout the entire season. Lila and I have great chemistry as a doubles team. We’ve had it forever. We’ve been friends for a very long time. We also play lacrosse together.”
"I think we knew we were good. I think we were confident in that, but I think just what the scores reflect, I didn’t think we would be slaughtering people."
— Lila Collins
During pool play of the Moose Tournament, Folden-Collins topped New Prague’s Anna Sharkey-Mandi Becher 7-5, 6-3, Glencoe-Silver Lake’s Leah Nemec-Jenna Trippel 6-2, 6-2 and the team of Kelbee Lampi-Alexis Peterson from Pequot Lakes 6-3, 7-6 (6).
That landed Brainerd in the championship match against East Grand Forks’ Katelyn Farder-Brynn Havis. Brainerd won 6-4, 6-2.
“I’ve been really confident,” Collins said. “Every time I go out and play with Brynne I know we can beat anybody or everybody. It’s a nice feeling.
“I think we knew we were good. I think we were confident in that, but I think just what the scores reflect, I didn’t think we would be slaughtering people.”
Last season, Folden played No. 2 doubles with Ally Goeden. The two finished 9-1 overall. It was Folden’s first year as a point scorer for varsity.
“Playing No. 1 doubles some of the girls hit with more power and their first serves are a little better,” Folden said. “That’s what I’ve noticed.”
It was also Collins’ first season as a point scorer for varsity as well. She mainly played No. 3 doubles and finished 8-1.
“My expectations coming into the season were to play with Brynne at a high spot and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Collins said. “I think around last year, we started experimenting with our play together. That kind of just started booming.”
During the offseason, Collins worked on her serve to give it more fluidity and power. Folden said she worked on her groundstrokes.
Folden said this season has been very different than last year with a new section, the ability to play triangulars, quads and tournaments. Another big difference will be the postseason. The state tournament is back on the board and that’s the goal of the Warriors’ No. 1 doubles team.
“The chemistry between the two, they communicate so well and they help each other in those pressure situations,” Salo said. “They stay focused and stay in the moment. They have the shots and being able to use them and be smart about it. They have a game plan and discuss that between points.
“They are getting that high-level doubles competition and they are handling that. They are meeting the best doubles teams from every team. They’ve had challenging moments, which we want, and they look forward to it.”
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
Other notable performances
Meghan Smith, volleyball, finished with 51 kills, 54 digs, 11 blocks and five ace serves in six matches last week.
Catherine Moraghan, girls tennis, finished 4-0 to win the No. 3 singles slot in the Moose Tournament. She is 12-0 on the season. She added wins against Fergus Falls and Sauk Rapids.
Lacy Busch, girls tennis, finished 4-0 to win the No. 4 singles slot in the Moose Tournament. She is 13-0 on the season. She added wins against Fergus Falls and Sauk Rapids.
Adam Klecker, boys soccer, scored two goals against Elk River and another against St. Cloud Tech.
Nathaniel Staehling, football, finished with three touchdowns against Moorhead.
Mya Tautges, swimming and diving, won two individual events and was on two winning relays against St. Cloud Apollo.
Hannah Drietz, girls cross-country, won the Titan Invite with a 19:52 to lead the Brainerd girls to first.
Peyton LeMieur, girls soccer, recorded three straight shutouts last week.
Position: No. 1 doubles
Career highlight: Earning Athlete of the Week during lacrosse season
Other sports: Hockey, lacrosse
Grade-point average: 3.6
Favorite class: Animal sciences
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite movie: “Miracle on Ice”
Favorite TV show: “Friends”
Favorite website or app: TikTok
Favorite restaurant: El Tequila
Future plans: Undecided on where to go. Interested in studying education.
Favorite athlete: Patrick Kane
Parents: Brian and Jodee Folden
Position: No. 1 doubles
Career highlight: Making varsity her eighth-grade season
Other sports: Lacrosse
Favorite class: English
Favorite food: Fruit
Favorite movie: “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water”
Favorite TV show: “Criminal Minds”
Favorite website or app: Pinterest
Favorite restaurant: Buffalo Wild Wings
Future plans: Go to college with maybe a degree in nutrition
Favorite athlete: Brynne Folden
Parents: Amy and Jon Collins