Lumberjacks prep for tennis playoffsThe Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls tennis team will have a rematch against Hermantown in the first round of the section playoffs Monday, after picking up a key win over the Hawks Oct. 1.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls tennis team will have a rematch against Hermantown in the first round of the section playoffs Monday, after picking up a key win over the Hawks Oct. 1.
After having lost 5-2 to the Hawks earlier in the season, the ’Jacks rebounded with a 5-2 win over their rivals in the second match of the season between the schools.
Rachael Collier was the team’s top singles winner, beating Hermantown’s Danielle Luke 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) in a tight match at second singles. Rosalie Lundquist beat Hermantown’s Stephanie Collins 6-4, 7-5 at number four as well.
The ’Jacks also swept the doubles matches.
Alyssa Acheson and Reilly Kedrowski won their first doubles match 6-3, 6-1, while Katrina Smith and Lora Chalich needed a 7-5 win in the third set to take their match at second doubles. Courtney Ketola and Katelyn Litke finished off the sweep with a 6-4, 7-5 win at number three.
“It was our plan to sweep the doubles,” Coach Steve Rickstrom said. “We also needed Rachael or Rosalie to come through, and they both did.”
The team closed out its regular season on Tuesday with a 7-0 loss at Aitkin.
“It didn’t go well,” Rickstrom said. “We did have alternate players in for three of the matches and it was all about getting some of those kids varsity experience. We have our top 10 decided for the playoffs and we wanted to get those girls one more chance to play.”
Joanna Harms, Abby Wangen and Jade Alvillar made appearances in the Aitkin match as well.
The ’Jacks won five matches this fall and earned the fifth seed for the playoffs – which earns them a third match against Hermantown. The teams beat each other 5-2 on their home courts this fall but the Hawks did better against common opponent Grand Rapids which earned them the higher seed.
“I think our chances are about 50-50,” Rickstrom said. “We didn’t have Rachael Collier the first time we played them, and it’s easier with one of your top singles players in the lineup. We like our chances against them but they probably like their chances against us.”
Rickstrom says perennial power Duluth East should be favored but that southern teams are also very strong.
“The big favorites are Forest Lake and Andover, which has two of the top 10 players in the state (singles players and sisters Destiny and Faith Lee). They would be favored in both the individual and team competition.”
Rickstrom is also looking for his team to kick it up another gear in terms of team success.
“I don’t like the fact that we’ve only won five matches – two against Superior, two against Denfeld and one against Hermantown. Other than that, we’ve been shut out all year. We are a better team than that, but I do like the fact that we turned the tables on Hermantown.”
“Our best chance is to try to sweep the doubles,” he added. “And I think the biggest shocker is the way Rosalie Lundquist is playing. She’s this little demon out there and has been so consistent and winning more than she is losing.
“We played 17 players on varsity this year and only graduate three,” Rickstrom said. “So I’d like to think we are bright for the future. We’ll see how things go. It all depends on how the players do over the summer.”