Boys tennis: Blaine depth helps team reach section semifinals

After going 8-2 during the regular season, Blaine found itself among the top teams in Section 5AA, qualifying for the semifinals just like last spring. The No. 4 seeded Bengals began the section team tournament with a 7-0 win against No. 13 seed Spring Lake Park and followed with a 4-3 win against No. 5 Irondale. Top-seed Maple Grove ended the Bengals’ team run in sections with a 7-0 sweep May 20 at Lifetime Fitness-Moore Lake.

Blaine’s Tyler Pratt has been the top singles player for the Bengals which ended its team portion of the season in the Section 5AA semifinals against top-seeded Maple Grove 7-0 at Lifetime Fitness- Moore Lake, May 20. Fourth-seeded Blaine finished with an 11-4 record.   Photo by Bill Jones

Blaine’s Tyler Pratt has been the top singles player for the Bengals which ended its team portion of the season in the Section 5AA semifinals against top-seeded Maple Grove 7-0 at Lifetime Fitness- Moore Lake, May 20. Fourth-seeded Blaine finished with an 11-4 record. Photo by Bill Jones

Being a deeper team in terms of ability from top singles to No. 3 doubles helped the Bengals pick up team points consistently at the lower positions. Case in point came against Irondale in which four matches went three sets and Blaine won two of them. Top singles player Tyler Pratt lost 6-2, 6-1 to the Knights Peter Lyngdal. Blaine picked up wins at second and third singles thanks to Austin Ditzig’s comeback after losing the opening set 7-6 to win the final two sets 6-2 and 6-4 for the team point. Third singles player Peter Troy won his match in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 before Charlie Harris dropped a three-set match at fourth singles after winning the opening set 6-1. He lost the final two sets each by 6-4 scores.

Blaine’s top doubles team of Matt Seracki/Conner Ingalls won 6-3, 6-1 followed by a three-set win at No. 2 by Wyatt Sherwood/Cooper Cherveny by scores 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.

Anoka's Erik Mohr returns a hit from the baseline during his No. 1 double match against Andover May 14. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka’s Erik Mohr returns a hit from the baseline during his No. 1 double match against Andover May 14. Photo by Bill Jones

Both No. 2 matches (singles and doubles) proved to be the key matches. Blaine coach Jody Cullen said the Sherwood/Cherveny team were down 5-2 in the opening set and managed to win the next five games to win the set. “That was the match right there because that gave them huge confidence to a team that hasn’t played much together this year,” Cullen said.

Anoka

After going 3-10 during the regular season, No. 9 seeded Anoka was eliminated from the Section 5AA team tournament in the opening round by No. 8 Osseo 4-3. Anoka began the season with a 5-2 win over Rogers, then added a second win by the same margin against Detroit Lakes. The lone Northwest Suburban Conference win came against Park Center 4-3 May 13.

Coon Rapids

Coon Rapids’ hopes in the Section 5AA team tourney were dashed in the quarterfinals as the No. 7 seeded Cardinals were swept 7-0 by No. 2 seed and perennial favorite Mounds View May 16 to finish the team portion of the season with a 6-10 record.

One day earlier Coon Rapids recorded a 5-2 win against No. 10 Totino-Grace in the section opener. Second singles player Arsel Huskic won his first varsity match in straight sets 6-0, 6-1. The first doubles team of Dan Jaeck and Steven Muggenberg played what coach Scott Storrick felt was their best match of the season, winning 6-2, 6-2. The second doubles team of Nate Porter and Aaron Bauer won a third set tie-breaker 10-7 after winning the opening set 6-4 and dropping the second set 7-6.

Andover’s Erik Jones returns a serve during a Northwest Suburban Conference match in late April.    Photo by Bill Jones

Andover’s Erik Jones returns a serve during a Northwest Suburban Conference match in late April. Photo by Bill Jones

Spring Lake Park

The Panthers ended the season with a 2-10 record, losing the first eight matches of the spring before earning a 5-2 win against Rogers and shutting out North Branch 7-0 for the lone North Suburban Conference win.

St. Francis

The Saints came into the Section 7AA South Subdivision tournament with a 3-10 record. Two wins came by 4-3 scores against Spring Lake Park and Princeton and the other was a 6-1 win against North Branch. The Saints had one senior on the varsity roster, Stephen Vincent.

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