GIRLS TENNIS: Red River tops Packers for East Region title
Grand Forks Red River played West Fargo in the finals for the fifth straight season.
The end result wasn’t a surprise, either.
The Roughriders beat the Packers 5-0 to win their 14th consecutive East Region team title at Choice Health and Fitness.
“We had a very, very good, solid day,” Red River coach Greg LaDouceur said. “It was a good day of tennis.”
The Roughriders reached the finals by beating Wahpeton 4-1 and Fargo Davies 5-0 in the first two rounds, while the Packers blanked Fargo South 5-0 and got past Valley City 3-2 in the semifinals.
In the final, Red River won all five matches in straight sets, fending off tough matches at No. 2 doubles and No. 1 singles.
Red River’s Ellen Larsen and Lexi Antonenko outlasted West Fargo’s Katie Baasch and Jamie Freden in a first-set tiebreaker and won the match 7-6 (4), 6-3.
“Once they won that tiebreak, that kind of put them over the top and gave them confidence going into the second set,” LaDouceur said. “They played well in the second set. They made too many mistakes in the first set and they know it. But a lot of those mistakes were because the opponents on the other side are good players and they forced us into those mistakes.”
The other key match came at No. 1 singles, where Red River’s Mimi Yunker beat West Fargo’s Sammie Smith 6-4, 6-1 in a matchup between two of the state’s top players. Both players are expected to be contenders for the East Region singles tournament, which begins today.
“Sammie Smith is one of the better players in the state, as is Mimi,” LaDouceur said. “You could tell that by the points they were playing. They both hit the ball so clean. I think they were both feeling a little pressure in that first set. Fortunately, we came out on top in that one. Mimi kind of took over in the second set. It’s tough to bounce back after a tough first set.”
Red River also received wins from Cindy Lim at No. 2 singles, Paige Relling at No. 3 singles and Maddie Anderson and Alexis Caoili at No. 1 doubles.
The Roughriders, who have won 174 consecutive duals dating back to 2001, will have the No. 1 seed from the East Region at the state tournament next weekend in Bismarck. The Packers will be No. 2. Fargo Davies and Valley City earned state tournament berths Thursday, too.
“Fortunately, we won’t have to see this team in our bracket,” LaDouceur said of the Packers. “If we do run into them, it will be toward the end of the tournament, if we both get there. West Fargo is a scary team. They have some really solid players, as do we. If we get a chance to see them, we’ll see what kind of lineup we come up with and we’ll see what kind of lineup they come up with.”