Saints tennis falls to Blue Earth Area in Section 3A Final
The St. James area girls tennis team was bested by Blue Earth Area in the Section 3A Final 5-2 for the second consecutive year.
In their first sets, Jaelyn Haler and Ellie Becker took care of business, winning 6-0, 6-1, respectively. The second doubles team of Sofia Solorzano and Allison Bluedorn also claimed a 6-1 win.
Solorzano was bumped up to second doubles due to the absence of senior captain Sam Tetzloff, who also missed the previous round against United South Central.
Mika Wessels was called upon to fill in at third doubles.
Mya Hanson fell behind 3-0 to Arika Howard in the first set, but quickly flipped the script on the opposing senior, taking the set 6-4.
Eva Romsdahl lost a tough first set 6-4, as did Emma Anderson and Wessels.
The Saints earned the first two victories of the match, with Haler and Solorzano/Bluedorn earning sweeps.
Anderson and Wessels were unable to rebound from a hard-fought first set and fell in the second set 6-2.
Addison Armstrong earned a 6-0 win over Romsdahl, and the match was tied at two apiece.
McKenna Dutton and Kylie Rosenau stayed tough at first doubles, topping Gabriela Trapero and Sailor Mohlenbrock 6-3, 6-3, and pushed Blue Earth ahead 3-2.
With two matches remaining, the Saints found themselves down in the match, but up in each game at first and third singles.
Becker held a 5-4 lead in the second set, and seemed poised to tie the match at three. But the ever-resilient Armstrong won three straight games to take the set 7-5.
At third singles, Arika Howard rebounded from the first set upset, and knocked off Hanson 6-3, setting the stage for a wire-to-wire finish.
In the end, both the veteran Bucs got the better of the Saints.
Howard played an almost perfect third set, and clinched the title with a 6-0 set victory.
Shortly after, Armstrong put the finishing touches on Becker and the season with a 6-1 win.
"For us to win the first set in three singles was a surprise because Arika Howard is a really good player," said head coach Les Zellmann. "In that third set, you can't fault Mya on that at all, it was just good play by Arika Howard."
Blue Earth Area has been a thorn in the side for the Saints over years.
"What's made them so good is that they have core players as seniors," said Zellmann. "They have six seniors in this group and some of them have been on varsity since eighth grade. They've got a lot of varsity experiences. That's maybe been their advantage in the last two years."
To get to the section final, the Saints shut out United South Central 7-0 in the section semi-finals.
After a tough, hard-earned 7-5 win in the first set, Wessels and Emma Anderson found their groove in the second set, winning 6-2.
"They had a bit of a slow start but recovered nicely," said coach Brian Bluedorn.
It was business as usual for the Saints singles players, as Ellie Becker, Jaelyn Haler, Mya Hanson, and Eva Romsdahl all coasted to wins in straight sets.
"It was a good win against a pretty solid team," said Bluedorn.
St. James Co-op- 7, United South Central 0
No 1. Ellie Becker, St. James Co-op def. Delaney Weber, United South Central, 6-3, 6-0
No. 2 Jaelyn Haler, St. James Co-op def. Alyson Swanson, United South Central, 6-1, 6-0
No. 3 Mya Hanson, St. James Co-op def. Kelsie Chapman, United South Central, 6-0, 6-0
4. Eva Romsdahl, St. James Co-op def. Elizabeth Romano, United South Central, 6-1, 6-0
No. 1 Gabriela Trapero/Sailor Mohlenbrock, St. James Co-op def. Macy Zebro/Maya Zebro, United South Central, 6-1, 6-4
No. 2 Sofia Solorzano/Allison Bluedorn, St. James Co-op def. Olivia Schwartz/Lauren Zebro, United South Central, 6-2, 6-1
No. 3 Mika Wessels/Emma Anderson, St. James Co-op def. Brooklyn Yokiel/Hanna Olson, United South Central, 7-5, 6-2
St. James Co-op 2, Blue Earth Area 5
No. 1 Tea Armstrong, Blue Earth Area def. Ellie Becker, St. James Co-op, 1-6, 7-5, 6-1
No. 2 Jaelyn Haler, St. James Co-op def. Marissa Benz, Blue Earth Area, 6-0, 6-2
No. 3 Arika Howard, Blue Earth Area def. Mya Hanson, St. James Co-op, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0
No 4. Addison Armstrong, Blue Earth Area def. Eva Romsdahl, St. James Co-op, 6-4, 6-0
No. 1 McKenna Dutton/Kylie Rosenau, Blue Earth Area def. Gabriela Trapero/Sailor Mohlenbrock, St. James Co-op, 6-3, 6-3
No. 2 Sofia Solorzano/Allison Bluedorn, St. James Co-op def. Britt Howard/Lyndsey Borris 6-1, 6-2
No. 3 Cali Beyer/Olivia Dutton, Blue Earth Area, def. Mika Wessels/Emma Anderson, St. James Co-op, 6-4, 6-2