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B.E. Area nets Class A state team tennis bid

WINNING POINT — Blue Earth Area second singles tennis player Macie Stevermer prepares for a return from the baseline during Thursday’s Section 3A team championship meet at the Swanson Tennis Center in St. Peter. Stevermer captured the winning point to propel the Bucs to state. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

ST. PETER — “I’m playing the lineup that’s gotten this far in the (Section 3A team) tournament, so why switch now?” Blue Earth Area head girls tennis coach Konny Wolff said prior to her Class A No. 6-ranked Bucs’ championship meet against the No. 8-ranked St. James Area Saints on Thursday.

Wolff’s confidence in her netters’ skills paid dividends in the form of a second sectional team crown and a second bid to the Class A state meet in the past three seasons.

Macie Stevermer rallied for a three-set comeback victory at second singles to clinch Blue Earth Area’s fourth and meet-winning point en route to a 5-2 team triumph over St. James Area at the Swanson Tennis Center on the Gustavus Adolphus College campus in St. Peter.

The Bucs (17-1) open the Class A state team quarterfinals on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis against an opponent yet to be penciled into the tournament bracket and at a time to be determined.

“Truthfully, I had no idea when the first day of the state team quarterfinals is,” said Wolff, whose lineup dethroned St. James Area for the second time in three years. The Bucs ended the Saints’ incredible 12-year stately run with a 4-3 win in 2017 before St. James Area flip-flopped the score to capture the 2018 Section 3A team crown.

“I didn’t even allow myself to look at the state information on the high school league website because I knew how difficult it would be to beat St. James twice in a row,” Wolff said in reference to downing the Saints by a 6-1 decision for last week’s Big South Conference championship.

Clinging to a 3-2 lead on the heels of a three-set comeback win by the No. 1 doubles tandem of McKenna Dutton and Britt Howard, the Bucs needed to win one of the two matches — Nos. 1 and 2 singles — still on the indoor courts.

The Saints’ Jaelyn Haler defeated Stevermer by a 6-4 first-set decision before the Bucs’ senior rallied for a 6-3 second-set win to force a decisive third segment. Stevermer transformed an early 3-0 lead into the eventual 6-1 win to punch the Bucs’ ticket to the state team meet.

“After losing the first set, I just tried to focus on the things I can control,” said Stevermer. “I used my high deep shots to score points and relied on my consistency.”

Te’a Armstrong capped the Bucs’ victory by outdueling the Saints’ Ellie Becker in the last match to hit the six-court facility at No. 1 singles, 6-2, 6-0.

Dutton and Britt Howard inched the Bucs within one team point of a victory by splitting their first two sets with the Saints’ Gabby Trapero and Samantha Tetzloff, 6-4, 4-6. Dutton’s poaching skills near the net and Howard’s baseline passes into the alleys triggered the pair’s third-set comeback from an early 2-1 deficit en route to a 6-3 win.

Addison Armstrong and Kylie Rosenau produced Blue Earth Area’s first team point at third doubles before Sailor Mohlenbrock and Noel Westcott countered for the Saints at No. 2 doubles. Mohlenbrock and Westcott downed Cali Beyer and Lyndsey Borris in back-to-back 6-2 sets, while Addison Armstrong and Rosenau netted a 6-2, 6-1 victory over the Saints’ Sofia Solorzano and Alexia Whitney.

Arika Howard then fended off Luci Kulseth’s late comeback bid at third singles, 6-1, 6-4, to generate the Bucs’ second tally before St. James Area left-hander Mya Hanson countered with a 6-0, 7-6 (7-4) fourth singles win over Marissa Benz.

Blue Earth Area and St. James Area open the 3A Individual Meet at 9 a.m. today in St. Peter.

Section 3A Team Finals

B.E. Area 5, St. James Area 2

Singles: Te’a Armstrong (BEA) def. Ellie Becker, 6-2, 6-0. Macie Stevermer (BEA) def. Jaelyn Haler, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. Arika Howard (BEA) def. Luci Kulseth, 6-1, 6-4. Mya Hanson (SJA) def. Marissa Benz, 6-0, 7-6 (7-4).

Doubles: McKenna Dutton-Britt Howard (BEA) def. Gabby Trapero-Samantha Tetzloff, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Sailor Mohlenbrock-Noel Westcott (SJA) def. Cali Beyer-Lyndsey Borris, 6-2, 6-2. Addison Armstrong-Kylie Rosenau (BEA) def. Sofia Solorzano-Alexia Whitney, 6-2, 6-1.

Semifinals

B.E. Area 6, Luverne 1

Singles: Te’a Armstrong (BEA) def. Roz Oye, 6-1, 6-0. Macie Stevermer (BEA) def. Elise Jarchow, 6-2, 6-0. Arika Howard (BEA) def. Ainslie Robinson, 6-2, 6-0. Marissa Benz (BEA) def. Mia Wenzel, 6-2, 6-4.

Doubles: McKenna Dutton-Britt Howard (BEA) def. Mela Jarchow-Brynn Thier, 7-5, 6-0. Solveig Tofteland-Lauren VerSteeg (LUV) def. Cali Beyer-Lyndsey Borris, 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), (10-5). Addison Armstrong-Kylie Rosenau (BEA) def. Jacey Smith-Olivia Wieneke, 6-1, 7-5.

SJA 4, Maple River 3

Singles: Vanessa Barkosky (MR) def. Ellie Becker, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2. Luci Kulseth (SJA) def. Lauren Maas, 6-0, 6-1. Sailor Mohlenbrock (SJA) def. Leah Proehl, 6-0, 6-0. Mya Hanson (SJA) def. Kayla Berg, 6-1, 6-0.

Doubles: Abby Bruegger-Olivia Pfeffer (MR) def. Jaelyn Haler-Gabby Trapero, 6-4, 6-4. Ella Sohre-Sophie Christian (MR) def. Samantha Tetzloff-Noel Westcott, 6-4, 0-6, 6-0. Sofia Solorzano-Alexia Whitney (SJA) def. Isabella Nelson-Kelsey Jaeger, 7-5, 6-3.

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