May 14, 2004 at 10:30 a.m.
Most will agree that their is a large disparity in the Rum River conference this year on the tennis court. If this isn’t your year, this really isn’t your year. That’s a nice way of saying, some of the teams in the conference are down-really down.
For Chisago Lakes, one of the top teams in the league, that presents a unique challenge. Namely, motivation.
The Wildcats were challenged last Tuesday in that way, hosting a young St. Michael-Albertville squad.
“St. Michael didn’t really have any players, they’re really young. Maybe in a couple of years, they’ll be on top and we’ll be on the bottom, who knows?” said Phil Derksen, Chisago Lakes head boys tennis coach. “I was just challenging the guys to get it done, not to play down to their level.”
Chisago listened, getting it done with a 6-1 win. All six wins came in straight sets.
In singles play, three of the four matches were won by the Wildcats. Meanwhile in doubles play, the ‘Cats rolled past the Knights, including at number one doubles where Marcus Burgin and Steve Pieper cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 win.
“We were very consistent all the way through,” replied Derksen. “It was just a matter of getting it done and playing out game. We did that so I was pleased.”
Chisago Lakes 6
Beitler won 6-2, 6-1
Peltier won 6-0, 6-1
Haynes won 6-2, 6-3
Gegeliia lost 7-6, 0-6, 1-6
Pieper/Burgin won 6-0, 6-2
Schmitt/Thompson won 6-3, 6-1
Metzler/Hoffman won 6-2, 6-4
Chisago Lakes 7
Mora brought about a similar challenge last Wednesday at home. The game was a make-up from April 27 when the match was called due to rain.
To put a little bit more on the line, Derksen changed up his line-up, looking for an added spark. For example, Philip Beitler was replaced at number one singles by Steve Pieper. James Moen was put at number four singles, and Marcus Burgin and Joe Thompson were paired up at one doubles.
It was a different line-up leading the same result as the ‘Cats exploded past Mora 7-0. All seven matches were won in straight sets. More impressive than that, in singles action, Chisago Lakes didn’t give up a single point.
“It was a good challenge for us to play with a different line-up. I wanted to do that to give them a challenge and they rose to the occasion,” mentioned Derksen. “I was really impressed with our singles. They took care of business. All of the matches were done in about 45 minutes.”
Chisago Lakes 7
Pieper won 6-0, 6-0
Peltier won 6-0, 6-0
Haynes won 6-0, 6-0
Moen won by forfeit
Thompson/Burgin won 6-1, 6-4
Schmitt/Gegeliia won 6-2, 6-4
Metzler/Hoffman won 6-1, 6-0
Chisago Lakes 5
The conference win kept the ‘Cats perfect Rum River record in tact, setting up a crucial match with Pine City in less than a week, most likely for the conference title. First though, the Wildcats stepped away from their Rum River schedule to play Tartan on the road last Monday.
Back to their original line-up, Chisago once again showed their dominance, especially in singles, winning all four matches. Philip Beitler returned to action at number one singles to grab a straight set win, while Matt Peltier, Joe Knafla, and Georgi Gegeliia also picked up wins.
Meanwhile, doubles play was a little more interesting. All three matches went through a tie-breaker, including number two and three doubles. Both teams dropped their first set by a tie-breaker before losing the match. The team of Marcus Burgin and Steve Pieper were the only doubles pair to pick up a win.
‘It was an ultimate tie-breaker day,” smiled Derksen. “We had the day off of school because of the power outage and the kids were tired. They had been sitting around all day so they weren’t into it right away. It took most of them their first set to get things going. But, even with that, I was happy for the most part with what I saw.”
The win propels the ‘Cats into the final week of the season on a roll. Up next, Pine City for the conference title, the conference meet, and a non-conference match with Hudson. Talk about an important week.
“It’s a huge week for us,” said Derksen. “We’ve been working for this all year and now all we have to do is go out there and get it done.”
Chisago Lakes 5
Beitler won 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
Peltier won 6-2, 6-1
Knafla won 6-1, 6-0
Gegeliia won 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
Pieper/Burgin won 6-2, 6-6 (8-6)
lost 6-7 (3-7), 2-6
Metzler/Hoffman lost 6-6 (3-7), 1-6