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Panthers volley way to another conference win

Natalie Kinkel focused on a return during a No. 1 doubles match against Crosby-Ironton last Thursday at the Depot Courts. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

Another sweep in singles play Tuesday afternoon at Wadena led the Park Rapids girls tennis team to another Mid-State Conference victory.

The Panthers won all four singles matches in straight sets to spark a 6-1 win over Wadena-Deer Creek.

Julia Smith, Natalie Kinkel, Tori Hilmanowski and Abby Morris combined to drop only eight games in their four singles matches.

Chloe Johnson and Jada Renneberg also prevailed in straight sets at No. 3 doubles while Olivia Wallace and Meagan Powers rallied to win a third-set tiebreaker for the win at No. 2 doubles. Haley MacPherson and Drew Hilmanowski dropped two close sets at No. 1 doubles.

The win gave the Panthers a 3-1 record against conference opponents, a 2-1 record against Section 8A rivals and an 8-5 overall record in dual meets.

"I feel the girls are playing well, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. We are working hard in practice to improve our doubles strategies and not give away so many free points," said Park Rapids head coach Brianne Morris. "To compete in the section, we need to continue to improve and make good choices. We are still working on finding the best lineup to get 4 points to win each match. We are also working on the mental part of the game: not giving up, not worrying about what your opponent is doing, moving on from a bad play or worrying about what is going on around them. The mental part is such a huge part of the game. If they can continue to work on that, we can continue to grow and compete in the section."

In last Thursday's conference dual against Crosby-Ironton at the Depot Courts, the Panthers won three singles matches and a pair of doubles matches in straight sets for a 5-2 victory.

Smith and Drew Hilmanowski posted identical wins at No. 1 and No. 2 singles while Morris coasted at No. 4 singles.

In doubles, Tori Hilmanowski and Kinkel won in straight sets at the No. 1 spot while Johnson and Gracie Eischens prevailed in a pair of tiebreakers at the No. 3 position. Wallace and Powers lost in a third-set tiebreaker at No. 2 doubles while MacPherson withdrew with an injury at No. 3 singles.

Park Rapids 6, W-DC 1

No. 1 singles: Julia Smith, PR, over Abby Westrum 6-0, 6-3.

No. 2 singles: Natalie Kinkel, PR, over Lindy Jones 6-1, 6-1.

No. 3 singles: Tori Hilmanowski, PR, over Madison Packer 6-0, 6-0.

No. 4 singles: Abby Morris, PR, over Corra Endres 6-2, 6-1.

No. 1 doubles: McKayla Woods/Jess Rondesvedt, WDC, over Haley MacPherson/Drew Hilmanowski 7-5, 7-6 (8-6).

No. 2 doubles: Olivia Wallace/Meagan Powers, PR, over Sara Moen/Kate Schmidt 3-6, 6-4, 10-7.

No. 3 doubles: Chloe Johnson/Jada Renneberg, PR, over Amber Moen/Kaitlynn Lane 6-0, 6-1.

Park Rapids 5, Crosby-Ironton 2

No. 1 singles: Julia Smith, PR, over Shekin Lewis 6-2, 6-2.

No. 2 singles: Drew Hilmanowski, PR, over Kyja Lindahl 6-2, 6-2.

No. 3 singles: Kalina Spalj, CI, over Haley MacPherson 6-4, injury default.

No. 4 singles: Abby Morris, PR, over Loren Sablan 6-1, 6-2.

No. 1 doubles: Tori Hilmanowski/Natalie Kinkel, PR, over Sage Stangel/Katelyn Norwood 6-3, 6-3.

No. 2 doubles:Hillary Holmvig/Whitney Haukos, CI, over Olivia Wallace/Meagan Powers 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 10-7.

No. 3 doubles: Gracie Eischens/Chloe Johnson, PR, over Megan Nephew/Jordyn Millsop 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-3).