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Tennis stays hot, tops Pipestone twice in 3-0 week

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer
Ellie Becker returns fire against Roz Oye. Becker swept the Cardinal 6-0, 6-1.

The St. James girls tennis team kept their unbeaten season alive with a pair of gutsy 5-2 victories over Pipestone and Luverne.

St. James graduate Colin Hoppe— now an assistant coach at Pipestone— returned to hometown to see his Arrows put up a quality fight against his alma mater.

The top three players from the Saints all took care of business in straight sets, while Eva Romsdahl battled through a tough three-set loss to Brielle Kulm.

Gabriela Trapero and Sailor Mohlenbrock earned a come from behind victory at first doubles. After dropping the first set 3-6, the duo rallied for a 6-2 victory in the second set before polishing off their efforts with a 6-4 third set win.

On Saturday against Luverne, the Saints dropped four first sets, and five matches went the distance, but the red and black rallied to best the Cardinals in another gutsy and gritty match. 

It was business as usual once again for the Saints top two singles players— Ellie Becker and Jaelyn Haler, respectively— as they earned wins in two sets.

The first two doubles teams for the Saints dropped their first set.

Trapero and Mohlenbrock fell 3-6 in their first set, while Sam Tetzloff and Allison Bluedorn fell 5-7, forcing both pairings to make adjustments on the fly.

"The biggest adjustment was recognizing that a first set could be close," said coach Brian Bluedorn. "We lost a close set at second doubles, the first set at first doubles was not close. Either way, whether it was close or not, it's a reset, you're starting over. Even if you win a set, it's a reset."

Tetzloff and Bluedorn were able to fend off a couple of match points in the second set, and tore out to a 3-0 lead in the third set before clinching 6-3, with a couple of high intensity and clutch points coming from Tetzloff.

Emma Anderson and Sofia Solorzano took the first set of the match, but were forced to a third set.

"I think at all the doubles we managed getting into that third set and getting the win," said Bluedorn. "I don't remember a lot of matches that we've played where we've had five matches go into three sets and that's really a credit to how good of a team Luverne."

"It was grit, it was heart, it was playing with a lot of smarts and energy."

The Saints traveled to Pipestone on Monday night, and had a much easier time putting the Arrows away with a 7-0 victory.

All matches except for #4 singles were won in straight sets by the visitors.

Eva Romsdahl lost the first set and took the second set 6-3, and fended off Brielle Kulm in the third set tiebreak 10-7.

St. James Co-op- 5, Pipestone Senior High- 2


No. 1 - Ellie Becker, St. James Co-op def. Olivia Lapthorn, Pipestone, 6-1, 6-1

No. 2 - Jaelyn Haler, St. James Co-op def. Emma Czech, Pipestone, 6-0, 6-1

No. 3 - Mya Hanson, St. James Co-op def. Jenna Boeke, Pipestone, 6-0, 6-0

No. 4 - Brielle Kulm, Pipestone def. Eva Romsdahl, St. James, 7-5, 5-7, 10-5


No. 1 - Gabriela Trapero/Sailor Mohlenbrock, St. James Co-op def. Skylar Mendro/MacKenzie Manderscheid, Pipestone, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4

No. 2 - Toryn Woelber/Emma Stahl, Pipestone def. Samantha Tetzloff/Allison Bluedorn, St. James Co-op, 5-7, 7-5, 6-4

No. 3 - Sofia Solorzano/Emma Anderson, St. James Co-op def. Sydnee Hubner/Kennedy Manderscheid, Pipestone, 6-2, 6-1