Prep girls tennis: Litch looks forward to state
Litchfield opens with Pine City in the state Class A team tournament
MINNEAPOLIS -- Litchfield girls tennis coach Matt Draeger is looking forward to the state tournament after seeing the Dragons’ performances in the section
“I thought we played our best tennis of the year during the section play,” he said. “Now we’ve got to try and do it again for the state tournament. It’s a hard thing to replicate but hopefully we can give it our best shot.”
Litchfield plays the Pine City Dragons in the state Class A quarterfinals at noon Tuesday at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center.
The Litchfield/Pine City winner advances to the semifinals at 10 a.m. Wednesday against the winner of Providence Academy and Crookston. The Class A championship is 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Draeger says the team is committed to taking the state tournament one match at a time.
“Our girls know that we have a tall task on Tuesday and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “We’re going to have to play our best. If we don’t play our best we’re going to lose. If we play our best or play our best then we’ll have a pretty good chance of winning.”
If Litchfield loses to Pine City, it plays in the consolation bracket that starts at 4 p.m.
Litchfield doubles players Britney Prahl and Kylie Michels, and junior singles player Ryanna Steinhaus also compete in the Class A state individual tournament that starts Thursday.
In singles, Steinhaus is set to compete against Madison Packer from Wadena-Deer Creek at 8 a.m. Thursday. The winner plays top-seeded Isabelle Einess from Minnehaha Academy or Marissa Benz from Blue Earth Area at noon on Thursday.
The state individual championship is 11:30 a.m. Friday.
In doubles, Prahl and Michels made it to the state tournament by defeating teammates, and Britney’s sister, Karlee Prahl and Lauren Erickson 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3) in the semifinals before defeating New London Spicer Izzy Schmiesing and Delaney Hanson 6-4, 6-2 to win the section title.
Schmiesing and Hanson also earned a state tournament berth and will compete against second-seeded Ellie Pirtle and Petra Lyon of Breck School at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Currently, Michels holds an overall season record of 29-4; Prahl is 28-5.
“They’ve played doubles together the last two years as freshman and sophomore and sophomore and junior,” Draeger said. “They’ve got a great chemistry out there and they are just two mentally tough, competitive and aggressive kids. They really help each other well. They work well together.”
In singles, Steinhaus defeated Leah Maddock of Osakis 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals before defeating Mara Van Nyhuis of Osakis 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 7-5 for the title.
Steinhaus comes into the state tournament with a 26-7 record.
“Ryanna Steinhaus has been great,” Draeger said. “Any time you get pushed to be the number one singles player in singles you never know how the kids are going to react.
“She’s only got one loss against a Class A team so she’s handling herself really well. She’s a bulldog and she’s really tough mentally and you need that in a number one singles player because every day and every match is a battle,” Draeger added. “If you don’t come ready to go and are not in the right frame mentally then you’re going to be blown out of the water. But that hasn’t happened to her too much.”
Also competing in the state Class A individual tournament is Montevideo singles player Emily Brace. She faces Lydia Delich of Eveleth/Gilbert Area in the first round.
Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg’s Hannah Helms and Elise Duncan also compete in doubles Thursday. Helms and Duncan face Courtney Eppen and Josie Schmist of Belle Plaine in the first round.
Class A team
(Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center, Minneapolis)
Fairmont High vs. Morris-MACA/WCA, 8 a.m.
Rochester Lourdes vs. Breck, 10 a.m.
Litchfield vs. Pine City, noon
Providence Academy vs. Crookston, 2 p.m.
Fairmont-Morris loser vs. Lourdes-Breck loser, 4 p.m.
Litchfield-Pine City loser vs. Providence/Crookston loser, 6 p.m.
(Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center)
Fairmont/Morris winner vs. Lourdes/Breck winner, 8 a.m.
Litchfield/Pine City winner vs. Providence/Crookston winner, 10 a.m.
Loser bracket winners, 12 p.m.
Semifinal losers, 2 p.m.
Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.