VIRGINIA — The Virginia girls’ tennis team wanted to close out the regular season on a good note and they did just that Tuesday night, downing Duluth Marshall 4-3 as they get ready for playoffs to begin next week.
Players went out on to the courts starting from the top of the lineup which allowed Virginia to build up an early 3-1 lead after the opening set of matches.
At No. 1 doubles, the duo of Ella Lamppa and Paige Maki pushed through a tough first set against Marshall’s Eva Etter and Anna Koski, winning 7-5 before cruising in the second set 6-2. At second doubles, the Blue Devils’ Mariele Paulsen and Abby Kramer were pushed to three sets against the Hilltoppers’ Becca Landherr and Grace Strandberg, but cruised in the third set to get the job done, 6-0, 3-6, 6-0.
At No. 1 singles, Virginia’s Ava Fink struggled against Marshall’s Meredith Boettcher, who seemed to return just about every shop the Devils’ top player used. Boettcher ended up earning the 6-4, 6-1 win.
Finally at No. 2 singles, Anna Fink eked out an 8-6 tiebreaker to take the first set 7-6 over Marshall’s Reese Orn but made short work of her opponent in the second set, 6-0, to take the match and put the Devils up 3-1.
With the final three matches on the court, Virginia sealed the win with the No. 3 pair of Theresa Anderson and Sydney Spelts defeating the Hilltoppers’ Cedar Fischer and Georgia Kenney, 6-2, 6-2.
Marshall made things close, however, with Emily Etter taking down the Devils’ Ava Seppala 6-1, 6-4 at No. 3 singles before Danica Mark won a marathon of a match over Virginia’s Alli Fink at the fourth spot, 6-2, 6-4.
In their last regular season home match, Devils head coach Kortney Rosati commended her seniors for a great pair of seasons as their coach.
“They’ve been really great for us on and off the court,” Rosati said of her seniors. “They’ve all just been a great group of leaders and seeing them grow last season and this season has been wonderful. Seeing how far each of them have come, it’s easy to see how much they’ve stepped up for us.”
Rosati went on to call her five seniors — Ava Fink, Anna Fink, Ella Lamppa, Mariele Paulsen and Abby Kramer — positive influences on the younger players on the team.
“They’re just great role models for every girl on the team. Alli [Fink] was out there in a very long game to end the match and they were all there cheering for her the whole time. Those are the things you like to see as a coach and it’s clear they’re just a good group of kids.”
The Hilltoppers have played tough against nearly every opponent they’ve faced this season, and the Devils were no exception. Prepared for a tough match, Rosati said her girls stayed focused and came up big when they needed to in order to pick up the win.
“We knew going in it was going to be a tough match. We had to be at our A-game. We switched up the lineup a little bit and I think that got some girls excited and ready to show something new. We always tell the girls to focus on the things that they do well and use those to take advantage of the other team’s weaknesses and I think we did that today and found a way to win.”
Closing out the regular season with a win, Rosati says it’s a positive step heading into next week.
“It’s huge to finish things with a win. We knew it would be close and I think it says a lot about us that we came out on top right before the playoffs. We have a few days of practice until then and I think this helps us continue our upward trend that we want to be on. It shows that we’re still in it and still have what it takes to compete. Things are looking pretty positive and we have some confidence now heading into sections.”
Virginia will be the No. 3 seed heading into the section tournament and will play host to No. 6 Mora on Monday at 4 p.m.
Virginia 4, Duluth Marshall 3
Singles: No. 1 Meredith Boettcher, DM, def. Ava Fink, 6-4, 6-1; No. 2 Anna Fink, V, def. Reese Orn, 7-6(6), 6-0; No. 3 Emily Etter, DM, def. Ava Seppala, 6-1, 6-4; No. 4 Danica Mark, DM, def. Alli Fink, 6-2, 6-4.
Doubles: No. 1 Ella Lamppa/Paige Maki, V, def. Eva Etter/Anna Koski, 7-5, 6-2; No. 2 Mariele Paulsen/Abby Kramer, V, def. Becca Landherr/Grace Strandberg, 6-0, 3-6, 6-0; No. 3 Theresa Anderson/Sydney Spelts, V, def. Cedar Fischer/Georgia Kenney, 6-2, 6-2.
Lakeview Christian 0
At Ely, the Timberwolves rebounded after Monday night’s loss to Northeast Range with a 3-0 (25-12, 25-5, 25-11) sweep over Lakeview Christian Academy.
Rachel Coughlin led the offensive attack for Ely, putting down 11 kills to go with four digs. Katrina Seliskar finished with 22 set assists, two blocks and six aces in the win.
Kate Coughlin finished with five kills and four aces, Kenen Thomas had six kills and three blocks and Madeline Kallberg had three kills. Raven Sanio and Clare Thomas finished with three and two kills, respectively.
“Overall it was a good game,” said Timberwolves head coach Megan Wognum. “We were able to complete some successful plays. We were able to get some other players into the rotations as well.”
Ely will head to the Mesabi East tournament on Saturday where Wognum hopes her squad will get looks at a few new teams.
“We have a tournament on Saturday that we will be taking the next three days to gear up for. We look forward to seeing some different teams at Mesabi East.”
Two Harbors 10,
Mesabi East Area 0
At Two Harbors, the Mesabi East Area girls' soccer team fell to hosting Two Harbors 10-0 Tuesday night.
No further details were made available to the Mesabi Tribune.