Tigers fall to eventual champ Greyhounds in 7AA Team semis: Tiger girls tennis went 2-1 to go deep in the Section 7AA Team tourney before eventual champion Duluth East defeated Princeton in Saturday’s semifinals. But top player Mary Claire Mayerchak kept the tennis season alive by winning the Section 7AA Singles championship.
On Oct. 8, the Tigers won their 18th match of the season by getting past Andover 4-3. Mary Claire Mayerchak stayed perfect on the season with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Destiny Lee in the 1st Singles bout.
“Mary played a great match against Destiny, really dictating the points in this match. She started the match fast and kept rolling,” said Tiger Coach Kelly Dorr. “It’s nice to have that kind of leadership on our team.”
At 2nd Singles, Bri Dorr was down 3-1 in the first set, but then she reeled off 11 straight games for a 6-3, 6-0 win. Sister Kelsey Dorr also posted a win at 3rd Singles, changing the pace in the match to take it 6-0, 7-6 (7-5).
The Tigers’ last needed team point came from Hannah Johnson and Becca Maus at 2nd Doubles as they rallied to win 5-7, 6-0, 6-1.
“Hannah and Becca caught on fire in the second and third sets. They hit great returns, attacked the net and hit great overheads,” described Coach Dorr.
In the other matches against the Huskies, Sarah Stark battled in a 7-6, 5-7, 5-10 match shortened because the Tigers’ already had their fourth point. Becca Trunk and Jenna Doyle dropped a 6-0, 6-0 match to Andover’s tough Kuebelbeck & Fenwick at 1st Doubles. Krysta Maus and Reilee Schepper fell 7-5, 6-2 at 3rd Doubles.
• At the Arrowhead Tennis Club in Duluth on Oct. 12, Duluth East reversed the score from the last meeting with Princeton for the 5-2 win in the 7AA Team semifinals. The Tiger points came from Mayerchak with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 win at 1st Singles, and Schepper & K. Maus winning 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 at 3rd Doubles.
Close scores in the other matches came from K. Dorr (5-7, 7-6, 6-3) at 3rd Singles, Trunk & Doyle (7-5, 6-1) at 1st Doubles, and Johnson & Maus (4-6, 6-4, 6-3) at 2nd Doubles. The Tigers finished off a great season with an 18-5 overall team mark.
East went on to end Elk River’s seven-year streak of reaching State by defeating the Elks 4-3 in the Oct. 14 7AA Team Finals. Elk River defeated Grand Rapids 5-2 in the other semis on Saturday. The State berth is the first for the Greyhounds since 1995.
Mayerchak’s Singles run
Princeton hosted the 7AA South Singles & Doubles individuals first rounds on a sunny Oct. 10. Mayerchak quickly advanced to sections with two 6-0, 6-0 sweeps in singles. Also in singles, Schepper fell in the first round to Chisago Lakes’ Sami Hindt.
The Dorr sisters teamed as the No. 5 seed in Doubles, and they pulled out two victories on Thursday, defeating Elk River’s Koeler & Teske in the second match to earn a trip to Duluth.
Trunk & Doyle won their opening match 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 over a Cambridge-Isanti duo, then they fell in the second match to Forest Lake’s Norby & Emly.
• On Monday back at the Arrrowhead Tennis Center in Duluth, the Dorrs battled hard against the North’s No. 1 seed Norr & B.Hauer of Duluth East before falling 7-5, 7-6 in the quarterfinals. Coach Dorr: “The girls were up 5-3 in the first set and had two set points but couldn’t finish it off. They rebounded well in the second set and just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Mayerchak kept her season alive in the singles brackets with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Grand Rapids’ Dulong in their quarterfinal match on Monday. MCC then had a rematch with East’s Elise Hauer in the semifinals on Tuesday in Duluth, and she kept swinging to a 6-3, 6-2 victory to reach the 7AA championship.
Also reaching the finals was Elk River’s Megan Brown, the South’s No. 3 seed. Mayerchak upped her perfect season record to 34-0 when she worked past Brown 6-4, 6-3.
Coach Dorr: “In the finals, Mary and Megan played the first 9 games without someone holding serve. Mary Claire was serving at 5-4 in the set and had a great serving game to win the set 6-4. In the second set, Mary Claire held serve two times and again broke Megan all but 1 of her service games. Mary Claire really returned the ball great all day. Megan has a great serve and was never able to get control on her serve– that is a sign of how well Mary Claire returned serve. She kept a cool, calm head the entire tournament. Mary Claire is a great leader and role model to our players on the team. It is fun to coach an athlete like Mary Claire because she competes hard, but always with a smile and with class on the courts.”
Mayerchak, a tourney-tested player in the off-season, will next compete in the Oct. 24-25 Class AA Singles Tournament at the U of M Baseline Center (8 a.m. start on Thursday).