CEC girls tennis get mixed results for season so farThere’s some good news and not-so-good news in the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton tennis program this week.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
There’s some good news and not-so-good news in the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton tennis program this week.
First, the good news – the ’Jacks are unbeaten in conference play through the first two weeks of their season.
Then, the not-so-good – the non-conference schedule has proven every bit as difficult as anticipated.
CEC started its week with a 5-2 win against Duluth Central but then lost consecutive non-conference matches to Duluth East, St. Francis, Cambridge and Hibbing to stand at 2-4 on the season.
Against Central, the ’Jacks picked up wins from all four singles players and a win at second doubles to boot. Kelsey Collier, Savanna Ellena, Reilly Kedrowski and Michaela Houser swept the singles while Kalie Shevich and Alyssa Acheson teamed up for a win at second doubles.
However, East then showed the ’Jacks their usual team depth to take a 7-0 team win in the second match of the day.
On Saturday, CEC traveled south on a very hot day for a tournament at Cambridge.
The team started the day with a 5-2 loss to the hosts, with CEC coach Steve Rickstrom learning a thing or two during the day.
“We got a scouting report on both teams from the Denfeld-Central coach,” Rickstrom said. “All I can say is that he gave us the wrong information. We thought St. Francis would be tougher but it was the other way around.”
Rickstrom gave different players a chance to play on a hot day. Against St. Francis, CEC took wins at both the top two singles positions, with Collier playing a dominant match to win 6-1, 6-0 against Melinda Wicker and Ellena losing just five games in dismissing Ann Hunt.
“Kelsey just dominated,” Rickstrom said. “She lost one of the first three games but then won everything after that. She played against a good player, too, but she was just excellent.”
Lizz Jezierski and Kristen Chalich were the other singles players while the doubles teams featured Kedrowski and Alyssa Acheson, Houser and Asha Fritsinger and Lora Chalich and Katrina Thompson.
CEC also fell 6-1 to Cambridge, with Acheson and freshman Breanne Baker taking CEC’s team point at third doubles. Jezierski and Steph Campbell lost a third-set tie break at second doubles to nearly win a second point.
“Asha (Fritsinger) and Kalie (Shevich) played well at first doubles and lost the first set 7-5,” Rickstrom said. “We had a chance to win second doubles too, so you lose 6-1 and think it could have been 4-3, then you’re looking for one more break to win the match. I think it was closer than a 6-1 team score.”
But then there was Hibbing, a team Rickstrom feels is the best in the region. The Bluejackets defeated Cloquet 7-0 at home Tuesday night.
“Hibbing is really good,” Rickstrom said. “They are tough, all the way down to their fourth singles with superstar players, and their doubles are always really good. We knew it would be uphill but didn’t know how far it would be. I think they have more depth than East, and they might be a little stronger at the top. Hibbing has a real chance to go to state.”
Despite the match scores, Rickstrom liked the effort his players put forward.
“It’s something to build on,” he said. “Reilly played her best match of the year at second singles and Michaela had been struggling a bit but moved the ball around well. We have to be realistic about it and try to have fun while we are out there, talking about the positive things that happen in each match rather than focus on the score.”
After a very active early season, the team gets a long Labor Day weekend off before playing at Hermantown next Tuesday on the first day of school.
“Hermantown is the favorite to win the conference but we haven’t lost yet in conference,” Rickstrom said. “If we can compete with them and steal a win, that’s a good thing.”