The first stretch of extended warm weather this spring came just in time for the Pine City tennis team as the netters put together one of their busiest weeks of the season. A midweek trip to the Litchfield tourney was followed by a resounding win in Mora and a split decision against Litchfield and St. Peter last Saturday in Dragonville.
New London-Spicer, Litchfield, and Montevideo all had excellent teams that the Dragons have consistently faced in the past. Going into the tournament coach John Eberhart knew that PC would have their hands full. “There were three really good opponents at Litchfield. It was great for our kids to play at this level,” he said.
Pine City slipped past NL-S by a score of 5-2 with wins coming from Parker Sell at first singles and Caleb Stumne at third. Meanwhile, the doubles teams of Jared Carpenter/Mason Mikyska, Hunter Danielson/Seth Linnell, and Brady Berglund/Rivers Sauter all produced impressive wins.
In their second match of the day, long time nemesis Litchfield was more than the locals could handle as Sell could generate the only win for PC in a 6-1 loss.
The final contest with Montevideo proved to be an outstanding showing for the Dragons as they whitewashed the Thunder Hawks 7-0. Earning wins in singles were Sell, Stumne, Greyson Johnson, and Bryer Berube while the pairs of Peyton Smetana/Mikyska, Carpenter/Linnell, and Danielson/Berglund swept the doubles.
In looking back at the day’s events, Eberhart was very complimentary regarding his team’s performance when he stated, “Parker was good all day long. He is so tough because he never beats himself. Hunter, Brady, Rhivers, and Bryer all are demonstrating excellent improvement each time out.”
PC hosted Mora last Friday and corralled the Mustangs by a score of 6-1. Sell, Danielson, and Johnson battled to important wins in singles play with Smetana/Mikyska, Carpenter/Linnell, and Berglund/Sauter notching solid victories in doubles. The pair of Spencer Wicktor/Berube won in exhibition doubles as well. “This was a really nice, total team win,” commented Eberhart. “Mora gets better each year and we needed to take it to them tonight.”
Eberhart was especially impressed with the efforts of Johnson and Linnell when he said, “Greyson had his best match of the year. He was consistent and more aggressive. He has a big upside. Seth is really becoming a dominant player wherever he plays in the lineup. I also thought Parker (Sell) turned in another nice match and both Brady (Berglund) and Rhivers (Sauter) continue to be tough on their older opponents.”
Saturday’s unseasonably warm temperatures were a foreshadowing of hotter tennis action when Litchfield and St. Peter came calling in a double dual contest with the locals.
Litchfield and Pine City adjusted their lineups to take advantage of their depth as well as to give the players some important match experience by playing in new positions or with different partners. “Because we had just played each other three days earlier, both teams decided to mix it up a bit. This is a great rivalry with a lot of respect for each other,” Eberhart remarked. Unfortunately, Litchfield again was the better of the two teams as they collected a 5-2 win. PC was able to garner its lone wins in doubles with Smetana/Linnell and Carpenter/Berglund each winning in three-set tiebreakers. Wicktor/Berube were again victorious in exhibition doubles.
According to Eberhart, “We moved Parker (Sell) to doubles and he and Mason (Mikyska) did a wonderful job for only playing one time together. Peyton (Smetana) and Seth (Linnell) played lights out. Peyton had his best day this spring and Seth continued his steady growth. Jared (Carpenter) and Brady (Berglund) teamed up for the first time. Jared was a great leader and helped Brady be relaxed and play aggressively. We asked a lot of our singles guys to move up a spot and that was a challenge for them. Caleb (Stumne), Hunter (Danielson), Greyson (Johnson), and Rhivers (Sauter) battled and were very consistent in their play.”
Against St. Peter the locals reverted to a more traditional lineup and notched a hard fought 6-1 victory. Sell, Danielson, and Johnson were triumphant in singles as were the teams of Smetana/Linnell, Mikyska/Berglund, and Berube/Sauter in doubles. The pairing of Wicktor/Billy Brown came away with another exhibition win as well.
“The win today runs our season record to 10 wins and six losses,” remarked Eberhart. “We have improved each match and our young guys are working hard and learning to put it on the line every day.”
This week the Dragons were scheduled to travel to Chisago Lakes on Monday and host Aitkin on Tuesday before heading to North Branch tomorrow (Friday).