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Buc tennis tops Cardinals in deja’vu meet

OVERHEAD SMASH — Fairmont’s Emily Hagen (front) connects on a leaping overhead smash as second doubles playing partner Ellie Hernes watches during Big South Conference East Division tennis action Monday at Hal Schroeder Courts in Blue Earth. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

BLUE EARTH — The plot of Act II did not deviate much from Act I in the play between the Blue Earth Area and Fairmont girls tennis teams.

Emily Hagen and Ellie Hernes delivered an encore performance in producing the visiting Cardinals’ only team point in a 6-1 Big South Conference East Division loss to the undefeated Bucs on Monday at Hal Schroeder Courts in Blue Earth.

Hagen and Hernes rallied for another dramatic three-set victory — 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 — to garner their No. 2 doubles clash with Lyndsey Borris and Britt Howard. Ironically, Hagen and Hernes pulled off a three-set comeback win over Borris and Howard during Fairmont’s 5-2 loss to Blue Earth Area last Thursday at the Cardinal Courts in Fairmont.

Briana Joseph outdueled Marissa Benz in a hard-hitting second singles battle four days ago to net the Cardinals’ other team tally, but Benz reversed the trend on Monday.

Benz rallied from a 5-4 opening-set deficit en route to a 7-5 triumph before rolling to a 6-1 second-set decision over Joseph.

“I thought Blue Earth (Area) really stepped up their level of play today,” said Fairmont head coach Laura Olsen. “Unlike last week, I thought our ability to execute big shots during key points was not consistent today, and that’s the way this game goes sometimes.

“It was tough after losing to them last week on our home courts to bounce back on their courts today. Now we just have to learn from our losses, keep a positive outlook and move forward.”

Arika Howard and Addison Armstrong staked Blue Earth Area to an early 2-0 lead on the team ledger from the Nos. 4 and 3 singles positions, respectively. Howard posted a 6-1, 6-0 decision over Anika Haugen to net the Bucs’ initial team tally before Armstrong bested Abi Peyman, 6-3, 6-0.

“I thought Abi learned a lot from the first time those two played, and proved more competitive today,” said Olsen.

In the second straight down-to-the-wire clash at No. 1 doubles, the Bucs’ McKenna Dutton and Kylie Rosenau outslugged the Cardinals’ Maggy Totzke and Lauren Davis in a nail-biter, 6-3, 7-5.

After earning a pivotal service break at 4-1, Dutton and Rosenau coasted to their first-set triumph only to watch as Totzke and Davis held leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 5-4 in the second set. Dutton’s service game helped the Bucs’ tandem even the set at 5-all before collecting a crucial break in Game 11 for a 6-5 edge. Rosenau’s precision serves and Dutton’s powerful poaching closed out the 7-5 second-set win for BEA’s third team point.

Te’a Armstrong sealed the Bucs’ team triumph with Point 4 by outslugging Claire Nemmers in a 6-0, 6-3 first-singles battle. Nemmers grabbed early leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the second set before Armstrong reversed the scoring trend in her favor.

For the second time in a row, BEA’s Cali Beyer and Olivia Dutton and Fairmont’s Libby Totzke and Hope Klanderud exchanged the lead in a nip-tuck third doubles slugfest on Monday.

Totzke and Klanderud coasted to a 6-2 first-set triumph before Beyer and Dutton answered with a 6-1 decision in the second set. With the team outcome already determined, Beyer and Dutton outdueled Totzke and Klanderud in a supertiebreaker — 10-7 — in lieu of a complete third set.

Fairmont (4-3) plays host to River Valley at 4:30 p.m. today at the Cardinal Courts in a replacement meet. The Cardinals were originally scheduled to play Waseca on Thursday and next Monday, but those duals were cancelled due to the Bluejays’ current quarantine period.

Blue Earth Area (7-0) plays host to St. Peter at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Varsity Results

B.E. Area 6, Fairmont 1

Singles Bracket

• Te’a Armstrong (BEA) def. Claire Nemmers, 6-0, 6-3.

• Marissa Benz (BEA) def. Briana Joseph, 7-5, 6-1.

• Addison Armstrong (BEA) def. Abi Peyman, 6-3, 6-0.

• Arika Howard (BEA) def. Anika Haugen, 6-1, 6-0.

Doubles Bracket

• McKenna Dutton-Kylie Rosenau (BEA) def. Maggy Totzke-Lauren Davis, 6-3, 7-5.

• Ellie Hernes-Emily Hagen (FMT) def. Lyndsey Borris-Britt Howard, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

• Cali Beyer-Olivia Dutton (BEA) def. Libby Totzke-Hope Klanderud, 2-6, 6-1, (10-7).

JV Results

Fairmont 5, B.E. Area 1

Doubles Bracket

• Lilly Laven-Brynn Gustafson (FMT) won 4-3, 4-2.

• Meredith Nemmers-Solveig Senf (FMT) won 1-4, 4-2, (10-8).

• Brooke VanGelderen-Annika Wheeler (FMT) won 4-1, 4-0.

• Rachel O’Connor-Kaycie Brookens (FMT) won 4-0, 4-1.

• Elly Stegge-Jenna Spencer (FMT) won 4-0, 4-2.

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