N.D. STATE BOYS TENNIS PREVIEW: Moe and Sailor pair as one of Central's best
Grand Forks Central senior Nick Moe has been one of the top doubles players in the state over the past four years. In fact, Knights coach Max Weisser can't think of a better doubles pair than Moe and Brenden Sailor at Central since -- well, Nick Moe.
Grand Forks Central senior Nick Moe has been one of the top doubles players in the state over the past four years.
In fact, Knights coach Max Weisser can't think of a better doubles pair than Moe and Brenden Sailor at Central since -- well, Nick Moe.
"It's probably the best doubles team we've had since Nick was playing with his brother Alex when (Nick) was an eighth-grader," Weisser said.
The Moe brothers took third in 2007 and this year's Moe-Sailor combination might just have an opportunity to best that mark.
Moe and Sailor begin the North Dakota state doubles tournament on Friday in Grand Forks against the West Region's No. 7 seed Nathan Berger and Erik Porter of Mandan. The team portion of the tournament begins today.
"Their expectations are high," Weisser said. "If they play well, they could be in the state final. It would take a real good effort."
Moe and Sailor finished second at the East Region tournament, one of Central's best doubles finishes at the regional in more than a decade.
Grand Forks Red River's Greg Wischer and Joey Anderson won the regional and are the runaway favorite to win state.
Moe and Sailor, though, are hoping for a chance to face the Rider duo.
"(Moe and Sailor) have been strong," Weisser said. "They're experienced with Nick being a senior and Brenden a junior. They serve really well and volley well. If they stay confident, they're tough to beat."
Weisser said Moe's strengths lend to the doubles game. Moe paired with Lucas Olson two years ago to take sixth at state.
"He gets to the net and has a good serve," Weisser said. "That's what doubles is all about: applying pressure and ending points early. He anticipates really well, too, and that helps him in doubles."
Sailor, in his fifth year out for tennis, has made great strides, Weisser said.
"He's had lots of tough three-set matches that he's winning in the end of," Weisser said. "That experience should bode well. When things aren't going well, he's able to keep grinding."
Streaks on the line again for RR
The dominant Grand Forks Red River program will put its lengthy streaks on the line again.
The Roughriders are 11-0 this season, have won 13 straight state team titles and haven't been beaten in their last 158 duals.
Top-seeded Red River faces Bismarck High at 1 p.m. today in the quarterfinals.
"We played well last weekend, so we just need to keep going upward with our play," Red River coach Greg LaDouceur said. "We don't look past anybody. Our first matchup is Bismarck and we need to go take care of Bismarck. After that, we'll determine what we need to do next."
Red River's No. 1 singles player -- Erik Johnson -- is the state favorite.
"Erik has steadily gotten better as the season has gone along," LaDouceur said. "He'd tell you he probably didn't get off to the best start this fall. But each day that's gone by, he's gotten better. He's striking it very well right now."
Johnson could be tested by seventh-grader Jake Kuhlman, who finished runner-up at East Region.
"It was definitely a surprise to see him finish second just because of the talented players in the conference tournament," LaDouceur said. "It also just shows that size and age don't matter in this sport. Jake has put in a lot of time. He's got a lot of tournament experience. He keeps pretty composed for a young guy."
Red River is also the favorite in the doubles portion. Freshman Greg Wischer and sophomore Joey Anderson pair as the top seed from the East Region.
"They just communicate so well together," LaDouceur said. "They're very good friends away from the court. When they're on the court, it doesn't matter if one is off because the other seems to pick it up. They talk between every point. They understand the game so well. It doesn't always take me to tell them what to do. It's within those two. They're very easy to coach that way."
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If you go
What: N.D. state boys tennis tournament.
When: Today-Saturday, various courts.
Red River participants: Team, vs. Bismarck High, 1 p.m. today; Jake Kuhlman (East No. 2); Andre Caoili (East No. 5); Erik Johnson (East No. 1); Joey Anderson-Greg Wischer (East No. 1).
Central participants: Team, vs. Mandan, 1 p.m. today; Nick Moe-Brenden Sailor (East No. 2).