The Saints boys tennis team got underway on Saturday with a doubles tournament at the indoor tennis center at Gustavus Adolphus.
The Saints competed against host St. Peter, Faribault and Luverne. SJA beat Faribault, lost a close one to St. Peter and were shutout by a strong Luverne team.
With just a few days of practice before this tourney, this was a peek at how the Saints lineup will shape up this spring.
The Saints return a lot of experience from last year’s team, but on Saturday, the Saints played only two, three and four seniors in the three matches. Each match had five doubles teams.
The Saints blanked Faribault 5-0. The number one doubles team of John Foss and Aldair Trujillo won the three sets 6-2, 2-6, 10-8. Sophomore Foss played in all three first team doubles matches. Junior Trujillo played number one doubles in two of the matches.
Against Faribault the number two doubles team of juniors Connor Olson and Will Runge won in three sets 3-6, 6-4, 10-6.
Saints Head Coach Les Zellmann said, “Faribault has experience at their top three positions, but their lack of team depth did show.”
The other three matches against Faribault were won in straight sets.
Senior Brock Mueller and junior Connor Engel won in straight sets 6-2, 6-1. Senior Erik Heitz and sophomore Cole Skow won 6-1, 6-1. Seniors Kilian Wehde and Michael Hedlund won 6-0, 6-1.
SJA lost their match against St. Peter 2-3. St. Peter has an early season advantage as some of their players keep from getting their game ‘rusty’ by using the indoor facility at Gustavus over the winter. A close loss by our Saints speaks well for the team’s prospects this spring.
All matches were decided in straight sets. Foss and Trujillo lost 6-2, 6-2. Runge and Engel lost 6-1, 6-1. Mueller and Olson won at number three doubles 6-3, 7-5. Wehde and Heitz lost 6-1, 6-3. Cole Skow and eight grader Sandi Skow won at five doubles 7-6, 6-4.
Coach Zellmann said, “It was very competitive tennis against the St. Peter and Luverne teams.
“Luverne is a very good team. They have been in the state tournament (Section 3A) the past two seasons and they return a veteran lineup of 6 seniors and 4 juniors that are very solid. They may be the deepest team in terms of strength that we face this year.”
That assessment of Luverne is reflected in the score as the Cardinals beat the Saints 5-0 with all the matches being decided in straight sets.
Page 2 of 2 - Foss and Olson lost 6-2, 6-3; Trujillo and Runge lost 6-1, 6-1; Mueller and Engel lost 6-2, 6-3; Heitz and Hedlund lost 6-0, 6-1 and the Skows lost 6-3, 6-2.
Coach Zellmann summed up the first match by saying, “Overall we are pleased with where we are at the start of the season. As a team we are in a better competitive position than a year ago at this time. Our top goals are to continue to improve our consistency rates in serving and in the ground stroke game.”