AREA PREP NOTEBOOK: East Grand Forks's Jones goes into state tournament with top spot
Nothing is being taken for granted as far as a trip to the Minnesota girls state tennis tournament. If there is such a thing as a sure thing, however, East Grand Forks Senior High's Jessamy Jones would have to be in the discussion. Jones takes th...
Nothing is being taken for granted as far as a trip to the Minnesota girls state tennis tournament.
If there is such a thing as a sure thing, however, East Grand Forks Senior High's Jessamy Jones would have to be in the discussion.
Jones takes the No. 1 seed in singles into the Section 8A tournament, which will be held this week at Grand Forks' Center Court Fitness Club.
Jones is defending 8A singles champion, finishing fourth at last year's state tournament. The junior has yet to lose a set this season while building a 30-0 record.
"We haven't reserved hotel rooms for state yet," Green Wave coach Jim Wyatt said. "There will be some tough matches for Jessamy in the section tournament. She'll have to play well.
"But I'd think the odds of Jessamy not advancing aren't very high."
Jones hasn't played sophomore Mikayla Wing of Staples-Motley, the No. 2 seed. But she is 3-0 against third seed Christina Smith of Park Rapids and 4-0 against No. 4 seed Taylor McFarlane of Roseau.
"Jessamy definitely has improved since last year," Wyatt said. "Previously, she had been more of a defensive player. But in the offseason she put a lot of time into her game and she's developed into a more aggressive player. She's always had the strokes. She used to sit back, waiting for her opponents to make mistakes. Now she's the aggressor, going for the winners."
Pequot Lakes is the No. 1 seed in team competition. Senior High, 2-10, is seeded sixth. The Park Rapids duo of Bonnie Baumgartner and Allie Girtz is the top seed in doubles.
The winning team and the top two finishers in both singles and doubles qualify for the state tournament.
The section dual tournament begins Tuesday with quarterfinals, with semifinals and finals Friday. Individual singles and doubles play begins Tuesday, and continues Friday and Saturday.
Wave seek 3-peat
East Grand Forks Senior High will start its bid for a third straight Section 8A girls soccer title when the Green Wave host a first-round game Thursday.
The 14-2-0 Wave will go after the championship with a high-scoring offense similar to past teams, but with a different style.
"We're still an attacking, offensive-minded team," coach Jessica Krog said. "But it's different kids with different styles. This is the most balanced team I've coached. It isn't one or two standouts. We're getting goals from all over the place."
Senior High has received goals from 17 players. Eight players have five or more goals -- Dani Pickard (10 goals, 3 assists), Emily Swenson (9-3), Anna Hulteng (6-5), Marina Galstad (6-5), Riley Koberinski (6-5), Tina Arroyo (6-3), Erica Eades (6-2), Madi Galstad (6-2) and Jenna Perreault (5-1). The top playmaker is CoCo Piche (4-7).
The past few seasons, the Wave had more dominant individuals such as Jaclyn Scanlan and Francie Piche.
"I don't know if one style is better than the other," Krog said. "It was hard when teams keyed on Jaclyn and were able to take the quarterback out of our offense. With this team, defenses can't key on any one person. And coaches always say they want that balance."
Besides the balance, this Wave team is different from the experience standpoint. Krog has 12 seniors on her roster, the most she's had on a team in her 10 seasons at Senior High.
"These kids have been staples of the program for several years," Krog said. "They've played parts in winning two section championships and five conference championships. They've played in four section championship games. This senior class is full of kids who have been impact players."
Senior High looks for its offense
East Grand Forks Senior High takes the No. 3 seed into the Section 8A boys soccer tournament. The Green Wave host a first-round game Thursday, and coach Matt Stengl is looking for ways to rejuvenate the offense before then.
Senior High, 9-6-1, has scored five goals in its last five games and 13 goals in its last eight games, six of those coming in a game against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Cass Lake-Bena.
"We're getting scoring opportunities," Stengl said. "We aren't finishing on the chances that are there. We seem to be lacking mental focus lately."
Robbie Grabanski paces the offense with seven goals, while also having two assists. Other top scorers include Andrew Gregoire (4-2), Jake Kliner (4-1), Cory Mack (3-2) and Joey Scanlan (3-2).
While the offense has struggled of late, the defense has allowed more than two goals only twice all season.
"The huge thing for us is we're not giving up a lot of goals," Stengl said. "Josh Regorrah (in goal) has played really well, and we have a strong defensive corps in front of him.
"Coming into this season, I looked at our schedule and felt we could finish our 11-5. We're on track. But we have to put our offense back together before the playoffs start."
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