MARSHALL - Nearly a month after a thunderstorm forced the suspension of a tennis match between Marshall and the River Valley Wildcats, the two teams returned to the tennis courts at Marshall High School on Thursday to conclude play.
The Tigers entered the day down 2-0 after dropping a pair of doubles matches on Aug. 23 and trailed in three other matches. Marshall was unable to turn the postponement in its favor, however, falling to the Wildcats- a cooperative comprised of Sleepy Eye High School, Sleepy Eye St. Mary's and Springfield- 5-2.
"It was weird, that's for sure," Marshall head coach Holly Knudson said of her team finishing a match that had begun in late August. "But it was an opportunity to get the match finished."
Photo by Travis Andries
Marshall’s Julia Hartmann hits a serve to River Valley Wildcats player Kallie Smith during the Tigers’ make-up match Thursday at Marshall High School. Hartmann won the No. 1 singles match 7-6 (9-7), 6-1.
Following the losses for No. 1 doubles team Maggie Roy and Maddie Schoephoerster and No. 3 doubles pair Christina Hanson and Melise Baumgarn from the first day of competition, Marshall needed to finish at least 4-1 to claim a victory, with no less than two of those wins requiring comebacks from Tigers who trailed by a set entering Thursday.
Marshall was unable to complete the comeback, picking up just two wins.
No. 1 singles player Julia Hartmann, who had one of Marshall's two wins, resumed play in the midst of a tiebreak, trailing 7-6. She spun together three consecutive points to take the first set 7-6 (9-7), before cruising to a 6-1 win in the second set over Kallie Smith.
Anja Baumgarn, Marshall's No. 4 singles player, defeated Natalie Stevens for the other Tigers win, picking up where she had left off in a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Jenna Gannott and Rachel Landmark were unable to rebound after the lengthy delay, dropping their matches in straight sets in singles competition. Gannott was defeated by River Valley No. 2 singles player Becky Roiger 6-2, 7-5, while Landmark fell 6-2, 6-2 to Lauren Laffen.
The final match of the day saw Marshall's No. 2 doubles team of Annie Samuelson and Brittany Soupir fall to Marlayna Evers and Erika Ries 7-5, 6-3.
A focus for the Tigers during the season has been improving upon their mental toughness. Any progress in that department was put to the test on Thursday.
"You can't really work on it except for playing matches," Knudson said. "And that's the part that this (match) helped. (The team was) kind of already in a funk at the time, so it would have been nice if they could've come back and actually taken control."
Also working against the Tigers was the absence of current No. 1 singles player Brooke Louwagie. Due to an early season injury, Louwagie was not available when the match began and, thus, equally unavailable during its conclusion.
"We started off without Brooke because of her injury, so having her back and having her sit and watch was kind of weird," Knudson said.
Louwagie will be back when Marshall (6-8 overall, 3-1 Southwest Conference) returns to the court on Thursday. The Tigers will travel to Clara City to face MACCRAY in the final conference match of the year. With a win, the Tigers would claim at least a share of the Southwest Conference title.
"I would love for us to go into that match with the expectation that we are going to beat that team," Knudson said. "We should beat them. And that's what I'll be talking about next week during practice. Just mentally pump them up and tell them, 'You are good enough to beat this team, so let's beat this team.'"
River Valley 5, Marshall 2
1. Julia Hartmann (M) def. Kallie Smith 7-6 (9-7), 6-1.
2. Becky Roiger (RV) def. Jenna Gannott 6-2, 7-5.
3. Lauren Laffen (RV) def. Rachel Landmark 6-2, 6-2.
4. Anja Baumgarn (M) def. Natalie Stevens 6-2, 6-2.
1. Emily Johnson/Kalyn Haas (RV) def. Maggie Roy/Maddie Schoephoerster 6-3, 6-3.
2. Marlayna Evers/Erika Ries (RV) def. Annie Samuelson/Brittany Soupir 7-5, 6-3.
3. Alex Chaney/Alyssa Rubey (RV) def. Christina Hanson/Melise Baumgarn 6-0, 6-0.