Andover duo go 2-2 at state tennis tourney

Andover’s first entrants into the state boys’ tennis tournament, the doubles team of Erik Jones and Grant Johnson posted a 2-2 record and nearly came away with the Class AA doubles consolation crown.

The Huskies opened the tournament with a two-set loss to St. Cloud Tech’s Luke Zwiener/Chris Mavetz. Tech won the opening set 7-6 (1) before cruising through the second set 6-1.

According to Andover coach Mike Johnson, the key point in the match came in the tie-breaker which went to Tech and really put the Huskies in a tough spot from which to come back. “They were a little nervous, getting used to the situation and played a really tough tie-breaker,” Johnson said. “Momentum went the other way for them. A lot of times in doubles it’s a game of streaks and momentum.”

Learning how to play the indoor hard court surface at the Baseline Tennis Center on the University of Minnesota campus took some time because the ball didn’t react the same way from the outdoors courts, Johnson said.

“The court was a lot slower than we’re used to so it really took away the power of the serve that both use, so they had to get used to that,” he said.

The pair turned things around in the next two matches to reach the consolation bracket final starting with Mounds View’s Jakob Bartels/Henry Morris.

Jones/Johnson won the opening set of the consolation quarterfinals against Bartels/Morris 6-3. The Mounds View duo took the second set 6-4 to force a third set tie-breaker that went to Andover 10-6 in another display of momentum carrying through.

Next up was the St. Paul Como Park doubles team of Ian Olesak/Nathan Parsons, which downed Lakeville North’s Justin Yee/Max Parkinson in a highly-competitive match 6-7 (5), 7-5, (11-9).

Jones/Johnson proved to be too much for Olesak/Parsons in a 6-4, 6-3 semifinal win to secure Andover’s place in the consolation final against the Bloomington Jefferson team of Joshua Punnoose/Philip Punnoose. Jones/Parsons took the opening set 6-4, but the Jaguars brothers won the second set 6-3 and third-set tie-breaker 10-5 for the win.

“Jefferson got the lead right away in the tie-breaker and if you fall behind it’s tough to come back.” Johnson said.

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