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
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."
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.
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."
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.
"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
(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
(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
(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
(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