ROGERS — The Litchfield girls tennis team is headed back to the state team tournament. But it’s safe to say that it wasn’t an easy task.
“I just think our kids don’t want to be the ones that let it not happen. It’s a: ‘Not on my watch’ sort of thing,” Litchfield head coach Matt Draeger said.
Litchfield beat Osakis 6-1 in the Section 6A final at the Rogers Tennis Center. The Dragons knocked off New London-Spicer 7-0 in the semifinals. Osakis beat Minnewaska 4-3 in the other semifinal.
Draeger the scores aren’t indicative of the closeness of the matches.
“The final scores don’t show how close it was,” Draeger said. “We won some close ones.”
Litchfield had two three-set victories against Osakis at No. 4 singles and No. 3 doubles. Isla Dille won at No. 4 singles for the Dragons, beating Larissa Hoffarth 1-6, 6-3, 10-7. At No. 3 doubles, Kaitlyn Palmer and Sophie Stilwell edged the Silverstreaks’ Bria Hoffarth and Madeline Anderson 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Osakis’ lone victory came at No. 1 singles. Mara VanNyhuis beat Litchfield’s Ryanna Steinhaus 6-1, 6-4.
Litchfield has won five straight section championships and has six since 2007. The Dragons compete in the state Class A team tournament Oct. 19-20 at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
“It shows our strength,” Draeger said of the streak of section titles. “Our girls just deserve a lot of credit for the amount of work and the amount of learning that took place.”
Draeger noted that the lineup has changed a great deal since last year. Avery Stilwell, last year’s No. 1 singles player and a six-year letterwinner, graduated. Stilwell was the West Central Tribune’s Hengstler-Ranweiler winner for being the outstanding female three-sport athlete in the area.
Steinhaus is a new singles player. Kylie Michels, the Dragons’ No. 2 singles player, played doubles as well. There are other changes. Draeger said he couldn’t be prouder with how it all worked out.
The Section 6A individual tournament is Wednesday at Rogers Tennis Center. At stake are two singles and two doubles team berths to the state tournament Oct. 21-22.
Section 6A championship
Litchfield 6, Osakis 1
(1) Mara VanNyhuis, O, def Ryanna Steinhaus 6-1, 6-4 … (2) Kylie Michels, L, def Leah Maddock 6-3, 6-2 … (3) Karlee Prahl, L, def Kennedy George 6-3, 6-3 … (4) Isla Dille, L, def Larissa Hoffarth 1-6, 6-3, 10-7
(1) Britney Prahl/Lauren Erickson, L, def Lexi Spychalla/Ellie George 6-1, 6-0 … (2) Taylor Draeger/Olivia Olson, L, def Makenzie Lien/Tessa Stanek 6-3, 6-4 … (3) Kaitlyn Palmer/Sophie Stilwell, L, def Bria Hoffarth/Madeline Anderson 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
Litchfield 7, NLS 0
New London-Spicer fell to Litchfield in the section semifinals at Rogers.
The Wildcats’ No. 1 doubles team of Kamryn Quenemoen and Delaney Hanson lost to Britney Prahl and Lauren Erickson, 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.
NLS also had close losses at Nos 1 and 3 singles and Nos. 2 and 3 doubles.
(1) Ryanna Steinhaus, L, def Izzy Schmiesing 6-1, 7-6 … (2) Kylie Michels, L, def Mya Mayhew 6-2, 6-2 … (3) Karlee Prahl, L, def Brooke Adelman 6-0, 6-0 … (4) Isla Dille, L, def Avery Dierenfeld 7-6, 6-1
(1) Britney Prahl/Lauren Erickson, L, def Kamryn Quenemoen/Delaney Hanson 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 … (2) Taylor Draeger/Olivia Olson, L, def Sadie Hatlestad/Jordan Proehl 6-4, 6-3 … (3) Kaitlyn Palmer/Sophie Stilwell, L, def Emily Ruter, Eva Schueler 7-5, 6-1
Osakis 4, Minnewaska 3
Minnewaska saw its season end with a section semifinal loss to Osakis at Rogers.
Minnewaska earned victories at No. 2 singles and Nos. 1 and 3 doubles.
At No. 2 singles, Addy Randt defeated Leah Maddock, 6-2, 6-4. Maddie Thorfinnson and Olivia Richards at No. 1 doubles and Megan Thorfinnson and Sydney Dahl at No. 3 doubles also were victorious for the Lakers.