|9/17/2021 12:43:00 PM|
'Cats dispatching best the M8C has to offer
Chisago Lakes 4, St. Francis 3
In what came down to one match and turned into an “instant classic” according to Head Coach Jon Erickson, the Chisago Lakes girls tennis team edged St. Francis 4-3 in their Mississippi 8 Conference opener.
Six of the seven matches were decided pretty quickly. The first three singles players from Chisago Lakes — Greta Gillach, Emily Erickson and Addy Carlson — won easily in straight sets. St. Francis’ fourth singles, first doubles and third doubles all won in straight sets as well, knotting the match at 3-3 only about an hour into it.
Everything came down to CL’s pair at second doubles, Kayla Bluhm and Laine DeVries. Both are battle-testedhockey players who have played in pressure situations before, so knowing the match fell on them wasn’t too big for them. Bluhm, a senior, and DeVries, a junior, won the first set 6-3 before St. Francis came back and took the second set in a close one, 7-5. By the third set, the four gals pretty much knew what they were playing for and DeVries and Bluhm drew on their big game experience and put the St. Francis tandem away 6-2, winning the match for CL 4-3.
“The girls played great in that third set, and I was really proud of them for battling,” Erickson said after the match.
Chisago Lakes 4, Monticello 3
The Wildcats match against Monticello ended in the same score of the St. Francis tussle, but it didn’t have the same flair for the dramatic, as Chisago Lakes won four points in straight sets to pretty much wrap up the win in the early going.
Gillach continued to establish herself as the best in the conferene with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep at first singles. Erickson mauled her second singles opponent 6-0, 6-0, and Carlson won another match at three singles, 6-4, 6-3. Lauryn Lundberg and Kaitlyn Hanson were the fourth point for CL when the first doubles team ran through their counterparts 6-3, 6-1.
DeVries and Bluhm played a close match at second doubles but eventually fell, and Audra Behnke also went to three sets at fourth singles but lost.
Chisago Lakes 5, Becker 2
The Wildcats drew a measure of revenge on Tuesday, September 14 when they beat perennial power Becker in a M8C showdown.
The Bulldogs were the only team to beat last year’s Wildcat squad, and before the season, Erickson knew they would be very tough again.
Gillach set the tone at one singles, beating fellow senior Maddie Moe 6-4, 6-2 in what was her biggest challenge to date this year.
Erickson picked up a tough 6-2, 7-5 win at two singles, give the ‘Cats an early lead. But, Becker has talent up and down the lineup and they claimed the three and four singles points to split that portion of the match and leave it up to doubles.
The first doubles team off the court was great news for CL, as the three doubles team of Ellie Hilber and Sophia Anderson won big 6-4, 6-2, leaving CL just one point away from claiming a team victory.
The one and two doubles matches got off on very different paths, however. Lundberg and Hanson won their first set handily, 6-2, while Bluhm and DeVries struggled a bit as the Becker two tandem won 6-3. Roles reveresed, however, in the second sets. Lundberg and Hanson had their serve broken early and Becker held firm throughout, winning 6-4 to even that match, and DeVries and Bluhm showed that grit from the St. Francis match and staved off a loss, winning 6-1.
The third set ended up being simpatico though. Lundberg and Hanson regrouped and held serve, outlasting the Becker top doubles pair 6-4 to win their match. DeVries and Bluhm continued their roll from the second set and won the third 6-2 to finish their comeback and put an exclamation point on the 5-2 team win.
“This was a huge win for us,” Erickson said after the match. “Becker is a powerhouse in the conference.”
Chisago Lakes will travel to Cambridge-Isanti this week before playing a ton of matches next week. They’ll have a home match against East Ridge on Monday, September 20, at Princeton on Tuesday, September 21, home against Big Lake on Thursday, September 23 before a home quad on Saturday, September 25.