ST. PETER - The Section 2A girls tennis team championship featured an all-South Central Conference cast on Monday at the Swanson Tennis Center.
Class A, No. 3-ranked Waseca earned its fourth consecutive sectional team crown by serving a 6-1 loss to a young talent-laden Blue Earth Area lineup on the Gustavus Adolphus College campus in St. Peter.
Waseca (15-3) will make its fourth straight appearance in the Class A state team meet against the Section 6 champion at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
WAITING GAME — Blue Earth Area second doubles player Paige Darrington (front) awaits teammate Aeli Olson’s serve during Section 2A team semifinal tennis action on Monday in St. Peter. Photo by Charlie Sorrells
"Hopefully, we can reverse our trend from the past three years at state. We finished second in 2009, fourth in 2010 and sixth last season. We definitely want to go in the other direction this year," said Waseca mentor Kyle Collins. "This is quite an accomplishment for our five seniors (Abby Collins, Alicia Knoll, Abbe Hoehn, Shanly Nelson and Bailey Krueger), who have played varsity for us for the last four seasons.
"We had some unfinished business, like our (warmup) shirts say, and now we'd like to play well at state."
While Waseca extended its sectional winning streak to four in a row, Blue Earth Area made its first appearance in a sectional girls tennis team final since most of the Buc players were toddlers.
"For a team that's as young as we are, it's a great accomplishment to reach the sectional championship match," said Blue Earth Area head coach Terry Barnes, whose postseason lineup features only one senior in Aeli Olson. "I'm very proud of the girls' performance today."
The Bucs gained the sectional team finals by sweeping the doubles bracket after sophomore Kaitlyn Olsen earned the maroon-and-gold's first point at fourth singles during a 4-3 semifinal victory over Jordan.
Kaitlyn Olsen utilized a strong service game and attacking style to net a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Jordan's Victoria Read to even the dual meet at 1-all.
Blue Earth Area then reeled off three consecutive wins in the doubles bracket to qualify for the sectional team championship.
Sophomore Kali Viland and sophomore Beka Krussow battled back from a 6-3 first-set loss to Trianna Thong and Katie Olson at third doubles to net the Bucs' second team tally. Viland and Krussow bounced back to squeeze by Thong and Olson in a second-set tiebreaker 7-6 (7-3) before rolling to a 6-1 third-set win.
Aeli Olson and freshman teammate Paige Darrington then delivered Point 3 by pounding out a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Jordan's Carina Larson and Paige Huss at No. 2 doubles.
Freshman Karli Olsen and freshman Natali Fellows then captured the pivotal team point at first doubles to lock up the semifinal win in the Bucs' favor.
Karli Olsen and Fellows recorded a key service break in Game 7 of the first set to post a 6-2 victory over Justine Lloyd and Paige Moran. Olsen and Fellows netted another critical service break in Game 3 of the second set to fuel another 6-2 set decision for Point 4.
Jordan senior Drew DeCorsey downed sophomore Karleigh Wolff at first singles, 6-3, 6-1; senior Alex Hancock defeated junior Lindsey Prokop at second singles, 6-3, 6-3; while junior Rachel Menke posted a 6-1, 6-0 win over freshman Anikka Wilhelmi at third singles.
After Waseca coasted to a 7-0 semifinal victory over St. Peter, the Bluejays captured a 6-1 decision over the upset-minded Bucs in the sectional finals.
Kaitlyn Olsen prevented a shutout for the Bucs, outlasting Anna Hoehn at fourth singles, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.
The hard-hitting Alicia Knoll and Maddie Muotka produced Waseca's first two points of the finals, downing Prokop and Wilhelmi by identical 6-0, 6-1 scores at No. 2 and 3 singles, respectively.
Bailey Krueger and Olivia McIntosh combined court skills at No. 2 doubles to down Aeli Olson and Darrington, 6-1, 6-3, while Katie Tlusty and Maddie Knoll wrapped up Point 4 for the Bluejays via a 6-4, 6-1 decision over Viland and Krussow at third doubles.
Abbe Hoehn and Shanly Nelson outlasted Karli Olsen and Fellows at first doubles, 7-5, 6-2, while Abby Collins rolled to a 6-1, 6-0 win over Karleigh Wolff at No. 1 singles.
Blue Earth Area and Waseca will compete in the Section 2A Individual Meet at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Swanson Tennis Center in St. Peter.
Section 2A Tennis Team
Waseca 6, B.E. Area 1
Singles: Abby Collins (W) d. Karleigh Wolff, 6-1, 6-0. Alicia Knoll (W) d. Lindsey Prokop, 6-0, 6-1. Maddie Muotka (W) d. Anikka Wilhelmi, 6-0, 6-1. Kaitlyn Olsen (BEA) d. Anna Hoehn, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.
Doubles: Abbe Hoehn-Shanly Nelson (W) d. Karli Olsen-Natali Fellows, 7-5, 6-2. Bailey Krueger-Olivia McIntosh (W) d. Aeli Olson-Paige Darrington, 6-1, 6-3. Katie Tlusty-Maddie Knoll (W) d. Kali Viland-Beka Krussow, 6-4, 6-1.
B.E. Area 4, Jordan 3
Singles: Drew DeCorsey (J) d. Karleigh Wolff, 6-3, 6-1. Alex Hancock (J) d. Lindsey Prokop, 6-3, 6-3. Rachel Menke (J) d. Anikka Wilhelmi, 6-1, 6-0. Kaitlyn Olsen (BEA) d. Victoria Read, 6-4, 6-1.
Doubles: Karli Olsen-Natali Fellows (BEA) d. Justine Lloyd-Paige Moran, 6-2, 6-3. Aeli Olson-Paige Darrington (BEA) d. Carina Larson-Paige Huss, 6-4, 6-2. Kali Viland-Beka Krussow (BEA) d. Trianna Thong-Katie Olson, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1.
Waseca 7, St. Peter 0
Singles: Abby Collins (W) d. Calleigh Carlson, 6-3, 2-6, (10-6). Alicia Knoll (W) d. Rachel Huber, 6-2, 6-2. Maddie Muotka (W) d. Michaela Meyer, 6-0, 6-0. Anna Hoehn (W) d. Aliza Doherty, 6-2, 6-3.
Doubles: Abbe Hoehn-Shanly Nelson (W) d. Morgan Schwarz-Maggie Nelson, 3-6, 6-2, (10-3). Bailey Krueger-Olivia McIntosh (W) d. Val Bresnahan-Karly Maier, 6-4, 6-2. Katie Tlusty-Maddie Knoll (W) d. Katherine Sandquist-Mallory Malecek, 6-3, 6-2.