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Panthers fall short in state quest

Even though the Park Rapids girls tennis team fell short in its quest to reach the state Class A tournament for the first time in school history, first-year head coach Nicole Brandt couldn't have been happier with the way her team ended the season.

Even though the Park Rapids girls tennis team fell short in its quest to reach the state Class A tournament for the first time in school history, first-year head coach Nicole Brandt couldn't have been happier with the way her team ended the season.

The Panthers advanced to the Section 8A title match for the first time since 2000 with a 4-3 win over Perham in the South Subsection finals. Park Rapids' bid to qualify for state was denied last Tuesday at the Grand Forks Tennis Center with a 6-1 loss to Crookston.

Crookston, which defeated the Panthers 5-2 and 6-1 during the regular season, used a sweep in singles and two wins in doubles to advance to the state meet.

Mindy Lawrence and Mary Kading prevailed in three sets at No. 1 doubles for the Panthers' lone point. Holly Roepke dropped a marathon three-set match at No. 2 singles while Allison Lempola lost in a second-set tiebreaker at No. 3 singles.

Megan Lawrence at No. 1 singles, Bailey LaCoursiere at No. 4 singles, Alyssa Klingenberg and Alyssa Carlson at No. 2 doubles, and Dena Johanning and Rachel Thelen at No. 3 doubles were defeated in straight sets.

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Crookston, which is led by seven seniors (including Molly Simmons at No. 1 singles and all six doubles players), will carry a 15-3 record to state.

"It took the girls a while to adjust to playing on indoor courts," said Brandt, whose team ended the season with a 14-6 record in dual meets. "They played well. Crookston is a good team and hopefully they'll do well at state."

Crookston 6, Park Rapids 1

No. 1 singles: Molly Simmons, C, over Megan Lawrence 6-0, 6-1.

No. 2 singles: Hayley Myrold, C, over Holly Roepke 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

No. 3 singles: Andrea Lariviere, C, over Allison Lempola 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).

No. 4 singles: Sarah Derosier, C, over Bailey LaCoursiere 6-0, 6-0.

No. 1 doubles: Mindy Lawrence/Mary Kading, PR, over Alisyn Buchmeier/Rachel Buchmeier 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.

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No. 2 doubles: Sarah Cooley/Danielle Persson, C, over Alyssa Klingenberg/Alyssa Carlson 6-3, 6-3.

No. 3 doubles: Birgetta Martin/Brittny Boetcher, C, over Dena Johanning/Rachel Thelen 7-5, 6-3.

Individuals finish fourth

In addition to trying to qualify for state as a team, the Panthers were looking to qualify at least one individual for the state meet.

That goal also fell short, but the Panthers ended the season with a pair of fourth-place finishes during the individual portion of the section meet at the Grand Forks Tennis Center.

Megan Lawrence, the subsection champion in singles, opened Wednesday's play with a straight-set win over Roseau's Kiah Gum-eringer before dropping a three-set match to Thief River Falls' Carli Sandahl in the semifinals. Law-rence was defeated by East Grand Forks' Jessamy Jones in the third-place match. Roseau's Abby Ness defeated Sandahl in the title match.

Mindy Lawrence and Kading, who finished second at the subsection meet in doubles, opened Wed- Wednesday's section tourney with a three-set win over Crookston's Alisyn and Rachel Buchmeier before falling in straight sets to Crookston's Molly Simmons and Hayley Myrold. The Park Rapids duo was then defeated by Thief River Falls' Kristen Sletten and Chelsea Daley in the third-place match. Simmons and Myrold defeated Perham's Ali Pesch and Abbi Paulseth in the title match.

Roepke, the subsection runner-up in singles, was eliminated with a straight-set loss to Jones in Wednesday's quarterfinals.

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SINGLES

Quarterfinals

Megan Lawrence, Park Rapids, over Kiah Gumeringer, Roseau, 6-2, 6-1; Carli Sandahl, Thief River Falls, over Steph Hendrickx, New York Mills, 6-1, 6-2; Abby Ness, Roseau, over Whitney Koehler, New York Mills, 6-0, 6-1; Jessamy Jones, East Grand Forks, over Holly Roepke, Park Rapids, 6-3, 6-2.

Semifinals

Sandahl over Lawrence 6-0, 3-6, 6-3; Ness over Jones 6-2, 6-1.

Finals

Ness over Sandahl 7-5, 6-1 (title); Jones over Lawrence 6-1, 6-3 (third).

DOUBLES

Quarterfinals

Molly Simmons/Hayley Myrold, Crookston, over Mariah Muer/Maria Lindberg, Perham, 6-0, 6-2; Mindy Lawrence/Mary Kading, Park Rapids, over Alisyn Buchmeier/Rachel Buchmeier, Crookston, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2; Kristen Sletten/Chelsea Daley, Thief River Falls, over Erica Imsande/Lauri Vorderbruggen, New York Mills, 6-0, 6-1; Ali Pesch/Abbi Paulseth, Perham, over Brenna Janzen/Amy Olson, Roseau, 6-3, 6-2.

Semifinals

Simmons/Myrold over Lawrence/Kading 6-1, 6-1; Pesch/Paulseth over Sletten/Daley over 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5).

Finals

Simmons/Myrold over Pesch/Paulseth 6-2, 6-0 (title); Sletten/Daley over Lawrence/Kading 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) (third).

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