LITCHFIELD — State tournament or not, Litchfield ended another girls tennis season knowing it has one of the best teams in the state.
While they’ll be unable to prove it in Minneapolis like in years past, the Dragons continued their dominance with a 6-1 victory over Le Sueur-Henderson in the Section 2A championship Tuesday from Litchfield High School.
The Dragons defeated the Giants by the same margin on Sept. 29.
Litchfield has won the section title each of the last four years.
“It’s a different feeling, but the accomplishment is still the same,” Litchfield head coach Matt Draeger said. “We were able to beat a really good team. It’s really hard when you’ve had a target on your chest like we’ve had the last three or four years. We continue to fight people off and take people’s best shot and still advance.”
The top-seeded Dragons reeled off wins in every singles match and two of three doubles matches. At the top of Litchfield’s singles lineup, senior Avery Litchfield ended her spectacular tennis career in style. She defeated Greta Nesbit 6-3, 6-3.
“Greta and I have had quite a few close matches, so I knew I had to work for it,” Stilwell said. “I always said no matter where I am, whether on the court or who I’m playing or what facility, I want to end my career on a positive note. ... You just want to be able to look back at your last match and say ‘I was happy and positive.’ I feel very good about that.”
A member of the team since the seventh grade, Stilwell produced one of the best outstate tennis careers. Helping the team take second at state in 2018 and third in 2019, she has twice earned runner-up finishes in the state doubles tournament.
“She is one of the most talented kids, but she’s also one of the hardest-working kids and best teammates that I’ve seen in high school sports,” Draeger said of Stilwell. “You combine the three of those things and you just have a dream. When your best player is that good of a teammate and cares about her teammates as much as she does and wants what’s best for everybody, you got something special.”
Sophomore Ryanna Steinhaus and senior Janessa Olson finished their seasons with straight-set wins. After losing the first set, Karlee Prahl moved past Makenna Reinhardt 6-7, 6-1, 10-2 at No. 3 singles.
At first doubles, the Dragons team of junior Britney Prahl and sophomore Kylie Michels captured a 6-1, 6-2 win over the team of Emma Seaver and Chloe Brandt. The No. 2 doubles team of seniors Kelsey Ballard and Emma DeWolf picked up the first Litchfield victory of the day. They defeated Anna Pavlo and Mia Schwarz 6-2, 6-0.
Le Sueur-Henderson’s lone victory came at third doubles. The duo of Darbi Dunning and Halle Bemmels picked up a third-set win over senior Sydney Jackman and junior Taylor Draeger 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Litchfield loses five seniors from its starting lineup, including three who started playing the sport this past year.
“It’s a gratifying year because we had to take some kids and put them in some spots they never played before,” Matt Draeger said. “I was really proud of how we were playing at the end of the year.”
Le Sueur-Henderson 1
(1) Avery Stilwell, L, def Greta Nesbit 6-3 6-3 (2) Ryanna Steinhaus, L, def Morgan Jones 6-1 6-4 (3) Karlee Prahl, L, def, Makenna Reinhardt 6-7 6-1 10-2 (4) Janessa Olson, L, def Isabella Holloway 6-2 6-4
(1) Britney Prahl/Kylie Michels, L, def Emma Seaver/Chloe Brandt 6-1 6-2 (2) Kelsey Ballard/Emma DeWolf, L, def Anna Pavlo/Mia Schwarz 6-2 6-0 (3) Darbi Dunning/Halle Bemmels, LSH, def Sydney Jackman/Taylor Draeger 2-6 6-2 6-2
NLS 6, Pierz 1
New London-Spicer captured the Section 5A championship by winning at top-seeded Pierz.
The Wildcats swept the singles and won at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles for the championships.
“The entire team played well today,” NLS head coach Chad Schmiesing said.
Ava Hanson at No. 1 singles, Izzy Schmiesing at No. 2, Mya Mayhew at No. 3 and Shannon Monson at No. 4 all won for NLS.
“Shannon Monson was unstoppable today,” Schmiesing said. “She finished her career getting better by the set. …
“Hanson finished her career in style. She was steady and navigated through the challenging winds to find a way to win. As usual, she came up big when it mattered most.”
(1) Ava Hanson, N, def Val Gall 6-4 6-0 (2) Izzy Schmiesing, N, def Maddie Andrea 6-1 6-1 (3) Mya Mayhew, N, def Megan Girtz 6-0 6-2 (4) Shannon Monson, N, def Alex Thielen 6-0 6-0
(1) Ellie Hanson/Kamryn Quenemoen, N, def Marybeth Toutges/Maddie Gall 2-6 6-2 7-5 (2) Morgan Rolighed/Sadie Hatlestad, N, def Kenna Otte/Britney Schommer 6-2 6-4 (3) Riley Kapsner/Morgan Pohlkamp, P, def Jordan Proehl/Brooke Adelma 7-5 6-4
Osakis captured the Section 6A title from Minnewaska in Osakis.
The Silverstreaks prevented Minnewaska from repeating as section champion.
The Lakers got their lone victory at No. 1 doubles.
Maddie Thorfinnson and Olivia :Richards beat Osakis’ Sydney Rach and Kadyn Triebenbach 6-4, 4-6 (10-5).
(1) Tia Dykema, O, def Alissa Thorfinnson 6-0 6-0 (2) Mara Vanhuis, O, def Addy Randt 6-2 6-3 (3) Kennedy George, O, def Annika Randt 1-6 7-5 6-4 (4) Larissa Hoffarth, O, def Leah Hagen 6-3 6-2
(1) Maddie Thorfinnson/Olivia Richards, M, def Sydney Rach/Kadyn Triebenbach 6-4 4-6 (10-5) (2) Ellie George/Brittany Dietrich, O, def Ally Mogard/Zoey Elwood 6-2 6-3 (3) Helena Zajac/Jayden Hensley, O, def Grace Jensen/Olivia Bleick 4-6 6-2 6-1
Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd won all of its singles matches to earn the consolation championship at MACCRAY.
Katelyn Wittnebel, Maddie Mattheis and Hannah Oie each picked up straight-set wins. At No. 3 singles, Kayla Jahn defeated Emma Rand in three sets 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.
The Wolverines swept doubles action. At the top of the doubles lineup, the duo of Morgan Essendrup and Ashlyn Schmidt moved past Sarah Halvorson and Claire Lowry 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. The team of Malinda Peterson and Mackenna Burnette also earned a three-set victory.
(1) Katelyn Wittnebel, L, def Haley Rhode 6-1 6-3 (2) Maddie Matthies, L, def Tayte Nokleby 6-1 6-2 (3) Kayla Jahn, L, def Emma Rand 5-7 6-1 6-2 (4) Hannah Oie, L, def Raelee Bristle 6-0 6-0
(1) Morgan Essendrup/Ashlyn Schmidt, M, def Sarah Halvorson/Claire Lowry 4-6 6-4 6-2 (2) Alex Dirksen/Hannah Delong, M, def Kali Bormann/Sadie Hacker 6-4 6-2 (3) Malinda Peterson/Mackenna Burnette, M, def Trish Maharaj/Taylor Jorgenson 3-6 6-3 6-4
Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg won the Section 6A consolation match over Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta/West Central Area at Morris.