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November 17, 2019

10/17/2019 3:41:00 PM
Gillach grabs state tourney bid in girls tennis
Above, Greta Gillach (middle) is pictured with her biggest cheering section, dad Jim, sister Hannah and mom Ann, as well as Head Coach Jon Erickson, after her state tournament berth in Duluth earlier this week.
Above, Greta Gillach (middle) is pictured with her biggest cheering section, dad Jim, sister Hannah and mom Ann, as well as Head Coach Jon Erickson, after her state tournament berth in Duluth earlier this week.

Sophomore Greta Gillach has some big foot steps to follow in that were planted by her older siblings, but in her sophomore year she is already starting to match them, step-for-step.

Both of her older brothers, Will and Thomas, went to the state tournament in tennis. Older sister Hannah was a four-year starter on the basketball team and a key part of the tennis team, but in the Section 7A individual finals earlier this week, Greta started to make a name for herself early in her career.

She made it to the final four of sections on Monday, October 14 and she opened the semi-finals with a win over Jordan Troumbly of Grand Rapids. She cruised through the match, winning 6-1, 6-1.

Head Coach Jon Erickson noted that Troumbly was playing second singles earlier this year when the two teams played each other, so it was Gillach’s first match against her.

That set her up with a match against three time defending section champion Aili Hietala of Duluth East. Hietala is not only a force in the Section 7A tournament every year, she’s made plenty of noise at the state tournament and is an elite tennis athlete in Minnesota.

Hietala took Gillach out fairly quickly, winning 6-0, 6-1 to be crowned the section champion. “We were mentally preparing to play three matches on the day,” Erickson said. “Hietala doesn’t lose often, and we knew there would be potential for a true second place match.”

Because Hietala beat both Gillach and Emma Anderson in the semi-finals, those two had to play in a true second place match to determine Section 7A’s second entrant into the state tournament.

Gillach was fired up despite the loss to Hietala, and she took an early lead against Anderson, winning 6-4 in the first set. In the second set, Gillach stayed on the offensive and kept Anderson on her toes. That led to a 6-3 win for Gillach, and a berth into the state tournament.

“As the season has gone on, Greta has been getting better and better about keeping focus despite the results. She lost some matches this year, and they were to great tennis players, but she’s treated those losses and positive learning experiences, and it really paid off for her in the true second match.”

Gillach’s state tournament journey will begin on Thursday, October 24 at 8 a.m. at the Baseline Tennis Center on the University of Minnesota campus.

With an unusually long layoff, Gillach and Erickson will work together to stay sharp before her state debut. “She’s played some great tennis to get to this spot, so we aren’t going to be making many changes. It’s just going to be working on keeping her fresh and getting her to play her best tennis at the tourney.”

Team falls to Duluth East
After winning their first two match ups in the Section 7A team tourney, the Wildcats matched up against top-seeded Duluth East late last week.

Erickson tried to mix up the lineup a bit to get an upper hand on the stacked Greyhounds, but it was tough sledding. Everyone in singles was bumped up a spot and Gillach, who was first singles all year, teamed up with Jill Erickson to play first doubles.

Gillach and Erickson won that points 6-1, 6-1, but the singles lineup got swept, and the second and third doubles teams fell despite moving down a slot.

Alyssa Vanornum and Emily Erickson played some close matches at third and fourth singles and Chloe Zupko and Laine DeVries had a shot at third doubles but fell 6-4, 6-4.

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