|10/15/2021 10:31:00 AM|
Gillach and Erickson team up for deep section run
For most of the season, it was a bit unknown if Chisago Lakes’ Greta Gillach, one of the top singles players in the section, was going to go at a state tournament bid on her own, or if she was going to team up with the ‘Cats second singles player, the talented Emily Erickson, to create a formidable duo to make a section run.
During the section meeting last weekend, Head Coach Jon Erickson revealed at Gillach and Erickson would be teaming up, and the pair was almost immediately awarded the top seed in the Section 7AA South Bracket, as they are standout individual players who had dabbled a bit as a team late in the season in preparation for their run.
The talent and chemistry paid off in a big way during the first day of individual sections on Tuesday, October 12.
Gillach, who is a senior, and Erickson, a junior, absolutely steamrolled their opponents in the first three matches to punch their ticket to the Section 7AA South finals.
They took on a Forest Lake tandem in the first round, who was seeded 16th, and predictably, the CL pair swept the match 6-0, 6-0 to move on to the quarterfinals.
In the second round, Gillach and Erickson took on the ninth seeded pair from Cambridge-Isanti, and it was another clean sweep, with the gals winning 6-0, 6-0.
The Wildcat pair finally did give up a point in the section semifinals, when they faced the fourth seeded tandem from Elk River, but it still wasn’t a close contest, with Gillach and Erickson winning 6-1, 6-2.
That win moved them on to the section finals where they will cross over and face the top two teams from the Section 7AA North bracket. The two teams that advanced from the North are Lindsy Busch and Catherine Moraghan from Brainerd, and Megan Bussey and Claire Rewertz from Hibbing.
The section finals are on Tuesday, October 19 in Chisago Lakes.
“Greta and Emily had a great start, roaring through the first three matches in record time,” Head Coach Jon Erickson said. “There should be some very good tennis coming their way from the North.”
The individual portion of sections took place after the team part, and both Chisago Lakes and North Branch bowed out in their first matches.
The Wildcats drew the 10th seed in the tough section, and that set them up with seventh-seeded Forest Lake in their opening match up.
It was a tight match throughout, with the Rangers coming out on top 4-3.
Gillach at one singles, Lauryn Lundberg and Kaitlyn Hansen at one doubles and Laine DeVries and Kayla Bluhm at two doubles were the point winners for Chisago Lakes.
Emily Erickson dropped a tough match at two singles to a FL senior and same with Addie Carlson at three singles. The CL frosh battled against senior Ashlyn Vetsch of Forest Lake, but fell 6-1, 6-3 after winning the first set 6-4.
Gillach’s match was a friendly rivalry at one singles, as she took on former teammate and good friend Malia McKinnon, who is the top singles player for the Rangers.
“I am super proud of this year's team. We won the matches we were supposed to win, and competed hard in all of the other matches,” Erickson said. “We had a fair amount of rebuilding after last year, but there have been several promising young players (Freshmen Addie Carlson, Audra Behnke, Alivia Clasen and Annalina Johnson) who have emerged and I am really excited to see where we go with them.”
For North Branch, they drew the 17th seed and had to take part in the play-in game against 16th seeded Duluth Denfeld. It was a close match, but the Hunters came out on top 4-3, ending NB’s team season.
Four singles Ashley Bistodeau, two doubles Brooke Rothe and Natalie Gavit, and three doubles for NB were the point winners.
Top singles player Rachel Wurdemann had an absolute battle at first singles with Kaitlyn McMillan. Wurdemann won the first set, in a nail-biter, 7-6, and then dropped the second set 6-4. The match eventually came down to a tiebreak third set that went 20 points between the two seniors. McMillan outlasted Wurdemann 11-9 in that set to win the match for Denfeld.