Roseau eliminates Panthers in semifinals
Despite being the No. 5 seed, head coach Brianne Morris was looking for her Park Rapids girls tennis team to contend for the Section 8A title.
The Panthers opened the section team tournament last Tuesday at Fargo's Courts Plus by avenging a loss to No. 4 Perham with a 6-1 victory before being eliminated by No. 1 Roseau 5-2 in the semifinals.
Perham edged the Panthers 4-3 during the regular season by winning three-set matches at No. 3 singles and No. 4 singles and winning in a pair of tiebreakers at No. 2 doubles.
Morris changed her lineup and it paid off as the Panthers won three-set matches at No. 3 singles, No. 2 doubles and No. 3 doubles to advance to the semifinals.
Julia Smith and Natalie Kinkel coasted to wins at the top singles spots while Tori Hilmanowski prevailed in three sets at No. 3 singles.
Park Rapids was able to sweep the three doubles matches as Drew Hilmanowski and Haley MacPherson won in two close sets at the No. 1 spot, Abby Morris and Olivia Wallace prevailed at No. 2 doubles, and Gracie Eischens and Chloe Johnson prevailed at No. 3 doubles.
"The girls played really well against Perham. After we lost to them during the regular season, we made some adjustments to our lineup. I knew we could beat Perham and I was so happy they did it in such a dominant fashion," said Brianne Morris. "The captains did a nice job of getting everyone ready to play. The girls did not want to go out in the first round. It was fun to see everyone do well."
In the regular season meeting, Roseau used a sweep in doubles for a 6-1 win over the Panthers.
In the section semifinals, the Rams used a sweep in singles to advance to the championship match.
Drew Hilmanowski and Kinkel didn't drop a game at No. 1 doubles while Abby Morris and Wallace won in straight sets at No. 3 doubles to account for the Panthers' two wins.
"We knew it was going to be tough against Roseau because they have some really strong players," said Brianne Morris, whose team ended the season with an 11-11 record in dual meets. "We thought the only way we could win is by doing a strong doubles lineup and then hoping that someone in singles could pull it off. We came up a little short, but the girls still played well. Roseau was just too good."
In the other quarterfinals, Roseau defeated No. 8 Parkers Prairie 6-1, No. 3 Crookston edged No. 6 East Grand Forks 4-3 and No. 2 Staples-Motley defeated No. 7 Wadena-Deer Creek 7-0. Staples-Motley eliminated Crookston 6-1 before falling to Roseau 4-3 in the championship match.
Roseau advances to the state Class A tournament, which begins Nov. 25 at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
Park Rapids 6, Perham 1
No. 1 singles: Julia Smith, PR, over Josie Beachy 6-2, 6-3.
No. 2 singles: Natalie Kinkel, PR, over Makayla Melvin 6-1, 6-0.
No. 3 singles: Tori Hilmanowski, PR, over Brianna Schwantz 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
No. 4 singles: Michelle Swyter, P, over Jada Renneberg 6-4, 6-2.
No. 1 doubles: Haley MacPherson/Drew Hilmanowski, PR, over Mallory Weber/Caitlin Moulzolf 7-5, 7-5.
No. 2 doubles: Olivia Wallace/Abby Morris, PR, over Elle Birkeland/Kiera Radniecke 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
No. 3 doubles: Gracie Eischens/Chloe Johnson, PR, over Johanna Winkels/Jade Lenius 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3.
Roseau 5, Park Rapids 2
No. 1 singles: Jodi Ostroski, R, over Julia Smith 6-0, 6-4.
No. 2 singles: Lauren Johnson, R, over Jada Renneberg 6-0, 6-0.
No. 3 singles: Kate Wensloff, R, over Chloe Johnson 6-0, 6-0.
No. 4 singles: Madison Lee, R, over Gracie Eischens 6-2, 6-2.
No. 1 doubles: Drew Hilmanowski/Natalie Kinkel, PR, over Kacie Bjerk/Haley Ostgaard 6-0, 6-0.
No. 2 doubles: Mackenzie Berg/Ellice Murphy, R, over Haley MacPherson/Tori Hilmanowski.
No. 3 doubles: Olivia Wallace/Abby Morris, PR, over Bria Dale/Grace Walsh 6-4, 6-2.