October 7, 2010 at 9:49 a.m.

Vikings earn another NSC win in last match of the year

Vikings earn another NSC win in last match of the year
Vikings earn another NSC win in last match of the year

Irondale 5, North Branch 2

Despite the gap in the score, the Vikings match against Irondale was closer that it appeared.

"We were up in enough matches to win as a team at the beginning and then in two of the doubles matches as play continued," Head Coach Tom McLaughlin lamented after the loss.

Gabby Ruddy buzzed through her opponent at third singles, winning 6-4, 6-2. "Gabby's play has continued to improve as the year has gone on and she has become one of our most regular points," McLaughlin said.

Brittany Moore returned to action after being shelved by a shoulder injury, and she won 6-4, 7-5, giving North Branch their second point on the day.

The match came down to two close doubles matches. At first doubles, Katherine Helbig and Kelcee Archer lost the first set 0-6, but they bounced back to take the second set 6-3. In the deciding set, the Irondale tandem outlast Helbig and Archer as they won 7-5 in a very close match.

That loss sealed the deal for Irondale, but North Branch didn't give up. Chelsey Gamer and Autumn Ruddy won their first set at second doubles 6-4. After losing the second set 4-6, they lost another heartbreaker, 3-6, giving Irondale their fifth point on the day.

Spring Lake Park 5, North Branch 2

In a match up against the Panthers, things went quite similar to the Irondale match. North Branch found themselves up in most of the points early, but they couldn't finish them off and Spring Lake Park ended up with the North Suburban Conference win.

Gabby Ruddy continued her strong play, winning 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.

Archer and Autumn Ruddy finished their opponents off in three sets. They won 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. "They won by mixing their strategies and style of play after their opponents were able to settle down and take control for a time," McLaughlin explained.

Katie Munns went up in her first singles match, winning 6-3, but she proceeded to lose the next two 1-6, 1-6.

Gamer and Whitney Jackson played well at third doubles, but they fell 4-6, 4-6.

North Branch 4, Robbinsdale Cooper 3

The Vikings pulled out a win in their last conferene match to up their NSC total to three. "This was the closest match we played in all year," McLaughlin said. "Throughout the match it looked like either team would be able to win. The matchs were competitive and well-played."

At third singles, Gabby Ruddy finished off her perfect week, winning 6-4, 6-2. She was 3-0 in match on the week.

The next point off the court for North Branch was the second doubles team of Autumn Ruddy and Archer. The pair won their set 6-3, 6-1.

North Branch got within one point of winning the match when Emily Rollins and Helbig won at first doubles 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

The Vikes had a chance to seal it at either first or fourth singles, as both matches went to three sets, but Cooper pulled both of them out. Munns lost 3-6, 6-4, 2-6, and Moore lost 6-4, 0-6, 1-6. "I have been especially encouraged from the increase in their quality of play as of late," McLaughlin said despite the losses.

With the match knotted at three each, Emily Ziegler sent the girls out of the NSC with a bang. After losing the first set in an exhausting tiebreak 6-7 (4-7), Ziegler came on strong, winning 6-2, 6-1 in the second and third sets. "Emily's play had continued to improve and she has become a very steady singles player," McLaughlin said.

The Vikings now look forward to the postseason. They closed out the regular season on Tuesday with a match against Cambridge-Isanti, and they will move to sections on Monday, Oct. 11, but they won't know who they play until Sunday, Oct. 10. The individual section play begins on Thursday, Oct. 14.


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