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Boys tennis: Litchfield almost upsets Breck, then rebounds

Dragons fall to defending Class A state champ 4-3, then beat Foley 6-1 to move into the consolation championship

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Litchfield senior Mason Woelfel chases down a ball en route to his dominating victory in the first round of the 2022 Minnesota Class A state tournament on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, in Minneapolis.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Litchfield boys tennis team fell short in a 4-3 loss to the Breck School Mustangs in the quarterfinal round of the Minnesota Class A state tournament Tuesday evening at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center.

Breck, the defending Class A state champion, swept the doubles matches and No. 1 singles player Zach Piehl defeated Dragons' junior Alex Draeger in three sets. Piehl won 6-1, 2-6, 7-5.

"Our guys got beat. They didn't lose it," Dragons head coach John Carlson said. "They did everything they could to win points and hit the right shots ... I thought that Breck was just a hair better than us and that's about what it was."

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Litchfield junior Alex Draeger talks with head coach John Carlson during his first singles match of the 2022 Minnesota Class A state tournament on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, in Minneapolis.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Litchfield defeated Foley in the consolation semfinals 6-1 late Tuesday to advance to the fifth-place match, where it plays Minnewaska/BBE at noon Wednesday in the Class A state tournament.

Draeger, tied for No. 10 in the Class A state rankings, and Piehl, ranked No. 9, battled back-and-forth until the very end with their teams tied at 3-3 in matches.

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Piehl cruised to a set one victory, 6-1. But then Draeger came back with a response of his own, a 6-2 victory, to force a third set.

Whoever won would send their team to the semifinals round.

Piehl started off strong, getting back to his play from set one as he took a 5-2 lead. However, Draeger battled to knot the set at 5-5 before Piehl rebounded to win the match in the third set, 7-5.

"I was real proud of how [Alex] battled the whole way," Carlson said. "I really want kids playing to win, not hoping to win, and I thought he did that. [Zach] did too."

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Litchfield sophomore Garrison Jackman hits the ball during his singles match against Breck in the 2022 Minnesota Class A state tournament on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, in Minneapolis.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Three Litchfield singles players won their matches.

Litchfield senior Mason Woelfel won 6-0, 6-1 to beat Ivers Emerson. It was Woelfel's first state match.

"It was a good experience. It was good to be able to play under pressure and learn how to adapt to the pressure," Woelfel said. "Being consistent is a big part of my game."

Alongside Woelfel, sophomore Garrison Jackman and junior Nathan Wuotila each won their matches in two sets for Litchfield.

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"All of our singles guys played really well," Carlson said. "Mason's match ended fairly quickly as did Garrison's. If Mason isn't a first singles player, he is a one-A singles player ... He's fun to watch and he's really athletic."

The Breck School plays Rochester-Lourdes at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the semifinals round of the Class A state tournament.

Breck 4, Litchfield 3

Singles

(1) Zach Piehl, B, def Alex Draeger 6-1 2-6 7-5 ... (2) Mason Woelfel, L, def Ivers Emerson 6-0 6-1 ... (3) Garrison Jackman, L, def Seabass Cherian 6-2 6-1 ... (4) Nathan Wuotila, L, def Luis Kelly 6-1 6-2

Doubles

(1) Enrico Petto/John Gorman, B, def Braden Olson/Tyler Pennertz 6-0 6-1 ... (2) Nate Ernst/Braden Barkmeier, B, def Brady Cannon/Eli Schacherer 6-2 7-6 (4) ... (3) Matt Berestka/Patrick Green, B, def Gray Nelson/Josh Blomberg 6-0 6-0

Litchfield 6, Foley 1

Singles

(1) Alex Draeger, L, def Riley Erkens 6-0 6-1... (2) Mason Woelfel, L, def Wyatt Harris 6-0 6-1... (3) Garrison Jackman, L, Colton Rothfork 6-1 6-0... (4) Jonah Wendt, F, def Nathan Wuotila 6-3 6-1

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Doubles

(1) Braden Olson/Tyler Pennertz, L, def Carter Thell/Gavin Gross 6-3 6-4... (2) Brady Cannon/Eli Schacherer, L, def Ben Hutchins/Isaac Milejczak 6-1 6-4... (3) Gray Nelson/Josh Blomberg, L, def Weston Harris/Max Chmielewski 6-3 1-6 10-4

Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in June 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies. You may reach Michael at mlyne@wctrib.com, or by calling (320) 214-4345.

Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in June 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at mlyne@wctrib.com, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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