MARSHALL - Trailing 3-2 to the Willmar Cardinals in the final match of the regular season, the Marshall Tigers girls tennis team placed its hopes for a victory on Monday, and a .500 record in the regular season, on its top two doubles teams.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, both the No. 1 doubles pairing of Maggie Roy and Maddie Schoephoerster and the No. 2 doubles team of Annie Samuelson and Brittany Soupir came up short in decisive third sets, allowing the Cardinals to defeat Marshall 5-2 on a gusty afternoon at Marshall High School. Marshall, following the loss, enters the Section 2AA playoffs with a 7-9 record after going 5-5 in its last 10 matches.
After dropping their first set 6-0, Samuelson and Soupir forced a third set with a 6-3 win during Set 2. The duo then fought back from an early 4-1 deficit to Willmar's Waverly Slette and Leah Ramon to force a tiebreak in the third set. Willmar's No. 2 pairing outlasted Samuelson and Soupir in the end, winning the tiebreak 7-3 to earn a 6-0, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3) victory.
Photo by Travis Andries
Marshall’s Maggie Roy hits into the wind during Marshall tennis’ match against Willmar on a blustery Monday at Marshall High School.
Roy and Schoephoerster found their way into a third set with Willmar's No. 1 doubles team of Heather Horning and Kassy Linbo after trading 6-3 scores in the first two sets. Horning and Linbo wound up winning the third set 6-3 for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.
Marshall's only wins on the day came from its top two singles players. No. 1 singles player Brooke Louwagie defeated Willmar seventh-grader Cayle Hovland 6-2, 6-0, while Marshall's Julia Hartmann swept Bailey Hovland 6-2, 6-2. The victory over Hovland was Hartmann's 13th win on the season in 16 individual matches.
Despite the team loss, Tigers head coach Holly Knudson found the result encouraging on the eve of Marshall's sectional matchup with third-seeded Hutchinson. Sixth-seeded Marshall is set to open up Section 2AA playoffs at 3:45 p.m. today in Hutchinson. Willmar lost to Hutchinson 4-3 in late August, giving the Tigers room for optimism.
"(Willmar was) without their No. 1 singles player and we were without our No. 3," Knudson said. "They moved everyone up a spot and we moved our No. 4 up. Both doubles lineups were the same, so that about equals out."
The Tigers were without Jenna Gannott, who was sidelined with renewed concussion-like symptoms from an injury last winter. In her place, the Tigers moved up traditional No. 4 singles player Anja Baumgarn into Gannott's spot.
"Anja played well considering she found out she'd be playing No. 3 singles about 10 minutes before we started," Knudson said. "I only found out we were going to be without Jenna right after school today."
Though she lost 6-0, 6-2 to Hannah Hansen, Baumgarn was involved with several extended rallies and close games. She was unable, however, to string together enough points to threaten Hansen.
"That's usually how No. 3 singles goes," Knudson said. "You play until someone makes the first mistake."
Also hampering the Tigers were strong wind gusts that kept the Marshall players out of rhythm throughout the afternoon.
"We had beautiful weather all last week during practice," Knudson said. "(Willmar) had to play in it too, so I'm not trying to make excuses. Some of the girls looked like they were finally getting used to the wind, but then they were done playing. It should be better tomorrow, it is usually less windy in Hutchinson."
Willmar 5, Marshall 2
1. Brooke Louwagie (M) def. Cayle Hovland 6-2, 6-0
2. Julia Hartmann (M) def. Bailey Hovland 6-2, 6-2
3. Hannah Hansen (W) def. Anja Baumgarn 6-0, 6-2
4. Maddy Oehrlein (W) def. Tori St. Aubin 6-0, 6-0
1. Heather Horning/Kassy Linbo (W) def. Maggie Roy/Maddie Schoephoerster 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
2. Waverly Slette/Leah Ramon (W) def. Annie Samuelson/Brittany Soupir 6-0, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3)
3. Tayva Vollan/Megan Andersen (W) def. Rachel Landmak/Crista Schultze 6-1, 6-2