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Lumberjack tennis down Marshall for second consecutive year

High school athletics can be very cyclical. For about a decade, the Duluth Marshall tennis team has been among the best in northern Minnesota. Last year, the program started to sag and the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton tennis team nipped them for the firs...

High school athletics can be very cyclical. For about a decade, the Duluth Marshall tennis team has been among the best in northern Minnesota. Last year, the program started to sag and the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton tennis team nipped them for the first time in coach Steve Rickstrom's tenure. Last Thursday, it happened again when the Jacks defeated the Hilltoppers 4-3.

"They are really struggling with numbers this year, so our win at No. 4 singles was by default," said Rickstrom of the Hilltoppers. "Most of the players they do have are relatively young, so I am sure they will be back to their old selves within a year or two."

That does not diminish the hard work and effort the Lumberjacks have given to their own program. The Jacks won all the doubles matches Thursday. It was the CEC doubles team of Becca Lind and Sydnee Burud-Erickson winning at No. 1, Bailey Sill and Maddy Carpenter at No. 2, and at No. 3 doubles it was Reilly Kedrowski and Micheala Hauser taking the victory.

"It was an important win for us as we are currently at a 3-1 conference record," mentioned Rickstrom. "At the midway point of the season we are 3-4 overall."

Kelsey Collier of CEC fell at No. 1 singles, Alicen Johnson dropped the No. 2 singles match and Sheila Martin lost a tight No. 3 match. Meanwhile, Ines Horratheva won at No. 4 singles in the walkover.

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"I thought Kelsey Collier was our player of the day against Marshall even though her score looked lopsided," explained Rickstrom. "Kelsey is a sophomore playing the toughest position in tennis and she is starting to compete a little better. She definitely didn't beat herself with mistakes on Thursday, her opponent just hit winners."

Rickstrom also singled out Ali Johnson as a player who stepped up her singles play.

"I don't think anyone is afraid of us or anything, but we are playing a lot better now than we were a month ago," said Rickstrom. "We have really tough opponents this week in Virginia and Aitkin followed by some much needed practice."

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