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Prep girls tennis: Lumberjacks hold off multiple rallies to top Superior

Spartan junior Sydney Friedrich came back from a 5-2 first-set deficit to top CEC’s Araya Kiminski in the No. 1 singles spot.

Cloquet’s Alexis Goranson plays a ball at the net during her match at one doubles
Cloquet’s Alexis Goranson plays a ball at the net during her match at No. 1 doubles in Superior on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — Cloquet-Esko-Carlton jumped out to early leads in its matchup against Superior, but the Spartans mounted multiple comebacks Monday at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex.

The Lumberjacks were able to fend off enough of the rallies to take a 5-2 win home.

Cloquet’s Araya Kiminski returns a shot during her match at one singles
Cloquet’s Araya Kiminski returns a shot during her match at No. 1 singles in Superior on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

CEC’s Araya Kiminski jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the first set over Sydney Friedrich in the No. 1 singles spot. Friedrich said she had “some jitters” at the Spartans’ first home match, but started to find her stroke, winning the first set 7-6 and taking the second 6-1.

“Once I got rid of (the jitters), I started playing a smoother game,” Friedrich said. “That’s when I found how I usually play and went with it.”

Superior’s Sydney Friedrich leaps to get to a ball during her match at one singles
Superior’s Sydney Friedrich leaps to get to a ball during her match at No. 1 singles in Superior on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Superior coach Mark Winkle said Friedrich’s consistent battling and ability to get to balls was a factor in the first set as well.

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“Sydney’s a tough player, she moves the ball well, she’s able to force players to hit forehands and backhands, and generally keeps them deep,” Winkle said. “Her opponent was really tough because she was so consistent and she got to a lot of balls. That’s why those first several games were so hard for Sydney. Even when Sydney hit good shots, the ball came back.”

At the No. 1 doubles spot, Frankie Halverson and Lexi Goranson jumped out to a 6-3 first-set win, but let the Spartan team of Greta Clark and Mattie Schilling get back in the match in the second with a 7-5 loss. The CEC team used improved serving and strong net play to take the final set 6-0.

Cloquet’s Frankie Halverson returns a shot during her match at one doubles
Cloquet’s Frankie Halverson returns a shot during her match at No. 1 doubles in Superior on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“Lexi and Frankie have good ground strokes from the baseline, and they keep the ball cross-court and deep,” CEC coach Derek Johnson said. “It sets up our net person, it gets them in good position where they are able to get a good net shot and put it in a good spot where the opponent can’t get to it.”

Superior’s Greta Clark returns a shot during her match at one doubles
Superior’s Greta Clark returns a shot during her match at NO. 1 doubles in Superior on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

In other matches, Superior’s Lexi Johnsen rallied from a 5-0 deficit in the first set at the No. 2 spot to top Addison Ranta 7-6, 6-3. CEC’s Emilie Mattinen and Paige Goranson both won their singles matches.

In doubles action, CEC’s Jordyn Rahkola and Ella Chartier beat Isabel Curtis and Lauren Gunderson, and Emma Welch and Gabby Rennquist topped Kenlyn Thimm and Sierra Thralow.

Even with the loss, Winkle said his team is showing good resilience and is learning about the ups and downs of matches.

“It’s nice that the girls stayed confident and kept playing hard,” Winkle said. “I think they realize that matches can come and go a little bit. There’s an ebb and flow to a lot of good matches and if they can stay steady during the down time, their run is coming.”

Superior’s Kenlyn Thimm lunges for a ball during her match at three doubles
Superior’s Kenlyn Thimm lunges for a ball during her match at No. 3 doubles in Superior on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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