May 23, 2019 at 3:18 p.m.
That commitment paid off as the ‘Cats wrapped up their M8C schedule with a 4-3 win over Monticello that clinched a co-championship with Buffalo, even though CL beat Buffalo on Saturday, May 11.
The clinching match against the Magic was a tough one for CL.
Drew Hanson put up a good fight at first singles but lost 2-6, 3-6. But, Bailey Olson and Cole Otte quickly picked up their teammate, with each of them winning their singles matches fairly easily. At second doubles, Jacob Fish and William Anderson lost 4-6, 4-6, but Jamie Mower and Isaac Aldrich won at third doubles 6-2, 6-4.
That gave CL the lead 3-2 after straight set matches were settled. It left Ethan Thompson on the court at second singles and Reece Lawlor and Evan Ginter at first doubles. Ginter and Lawlor had lost their first set 2-6 before fighting back to iwn the second set 6-3. But, they lost the third set 2-6, and that tied the match at 3-3.
For Thompson, his first two sets went just like Lawlor and Ginter’s. He lost 3-6, but bounced back for a 6-1 win in the second set. He kept that momentum rolling in the third set, and won 6-1, finishing his win and the teams conference championship clinching win. “Ethan was key,” Head Coach Jim Gillach explained. “We talk about hitting the reset button often after losing a set, and he did that, winning one and one after the first loss.
The match was an away one for Chisago Lakes, but they were presented with a trophy by the Monticello coach and AD. “Hats off to the Magic for making this a special moment for us as a visiting team,” Gillach said.
The Wildcats were led by 11 seniors this year - including captains Aldrich, Evan Ginter and Bailey Olson. Great leadership was also shown by Drew, Reese, Jacob, Will, Dawson Morrison, Cole Eisfelder, Jacob Werner, and Nico Bertomeu-Cottini. “What a great group of young men who cared more about the team than they did about their own position on the team. You talk about life skills. These guys exhibited this leadership each day.”
Despite their co-conference championship in the M8C, the Wildcats were seeded seventh in Section 7AA playoffs. They drew 10th-seeded Coon Rapids in the play-in round and swept them 7-0.
Only Cole Otte went more than two sets, and he won his third set in a 10-7 tiebreaker to finish the sweep. Hanson won 6-3, 6-0, Thompson won 6-2, 6-4, Olson won 6-0, 6-1, Lawlor and Ginter went 6-0, 6-1, Fish and Anderson won 6-2, 6-4 and Aldrich and Mower won 6-3, 6-3.
The win moved Chisago Lakes into the quarterfinals against second-seeded Elk River, who is an absolute powerhouse in tennis. The Elks did to Chisago Lakes what they had done to Coon Rapids just a few days earlier.
Only Olson, Anderson and Fish and Mower and Aldrich were able to stick close with their counterparts, but all three still lost in straight sets. Olson went down 5-7, 5-7 at third singles, Anderson and Fish went down 5-7, 4-6 at second doubles and Mower and Aldrich went doen 3-6, 4-6 at third doubles.
Gillach was disappointed with the ‘Cats seed, as they were lower than Cambridge-Isanti, who finished fourth in the M8C and lost head-to-head against Chisago Lakes, but he did admit that any draw was going to be tough with Duluth East and Elk River eventually standing in the way.
The season isn’t over yet, however, as the individual section starts later this week. Both Hanson and Olson will be in the singles draw, with Ginter and Lawlor and Anderson and Fish in the doubles draw. Hanson is seeded seventh, and so are Ginter and Lawlor in the doubles portion.