VIRGINIA – Virginia girls’ tennis coach Kortney Rosati has been making sure her squad has been trending upward as the season goes on. To the third-seeded Devils, it’s all about playing your best tennis at the right time.
Taking on No. 6 Mora in the Section 7A quarterfinals, the Devils looked to be hitting that upward trend at the perfect time as they downed the Mustangs 6-1 to set up a third date with their close rival Eveleth-Gilbert.
The Blue Devils swept their way through all four singles points and took two of three doubles matches to battle past Mora.
At No. 1 singles, Ava Fink defeated the Mustangs’ Maren Ryan 6-2, 6-0. At the fourth spot, Alli Fink defeated Mia Peterson, 6-1, 6-0.
The Devils were near-perfect at second and third singles with Anna Fink defeating Sophie Peterson 6-0, 6-0 at the No. 2 spot and Ella Lamppa dispatching Teagan Oslin 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3.
Virginia’s lone loss in the match came at No. 1 doubles. Mariele Paulsen and Paige Maki fought through two close sets with the Mustangs’ Ada Kruegar and Parker Ennis, but it was the Mora tandem that got the win in the end, 6-4, 6-4.
At No. 2 doubles, the Devils were back in the win column with Abby Kramer and Ava Seppala defeating Emma Anderson and Ria Edberg in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1. Finally at No. 3 doubles, the pairing of Theresa Anderson and Sydney Spelts continued their winning ways, defeating Mora’s Lauren Kohlbraf and Annelise Moe, 6-1, 6-1.
Winning convincingly in their first postseason bout, Rosati says her squad proved to her on Monday that they’re ready to stay competitive through the end of the season, whenever that may come.
“The girls showed me that they’re playing their best tennis right now,” Rosati said. “The energy the girls brought today was super high and super positive. They all came to play and showed us as coaches that it is playoff time. They want to win. I think it’s what we’ve been waiting to see all season.”
Every match has its ups and downs and while Virginia didn’t play perfect, they found ways to win when it counted. Rosati says one thing she’s tried teaching her squad this year is having a short memory.
“We’ve been preaching that all season. Regardless of what the score is, if you’re playing four games down, you can still bring it back. We really try to focus on one point at a time. Don’t worry about the scorecard. Don’t worry about the points that you lost. Focus on the next point and play smart and stay in it. The girls did that today and tennis is a game that can swing in many different directions so it’s important to have that tool available.”
The win means Virginia will take on No. 2 Eveleth-Gilbert today at 3 p.m. Their third meeting this season, the Bears have come out on top over Virginia the two previous times in close, 4-3 battles. If Virginia hopes to change their fortunes against E-G today, they’ll need to keep playing their best tennis.
“At this point in the season, it comes down to just staying in every match and fighting for every point. The girls played their best tennis today and if they do that tomorrow, then I think we can get the win.
“I know they’re excited for this match. They want to get the win this time when it’s most important. It’s been close every time but that just makes it so fun to watch.”
Virginia and Eveleth-Gilbert will battle today at 3 p.m. in Eveleth. If weather becomes a factor, the match will likely be moved to Wednesday in Virginia.
No. 3 Virginia 6, No. 6 Mora 1
Singles: No. 1 Ava Fink, V, def. Maren Ryan, 6-2, 6-0; No. 2 Anna Fink, V, def. Sophie Peterson, 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 Ella Lamppa, V, def. Teagan Oslin, 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 Alli Fink, V, def. Mia Peterson, 6-1, 6-0.
Doubles: No. 1 Ada Kruegar/Parker Ennis, M, def. Mariele Paulsen/Paige Maki, 6-4, 6-4; No. 2 Abby Kramer/Ava Seppala, V, def. Emma Anderson/Ria Edberg, 6-3, 6-1; No. 3 Theresa Anderson/Sydney Spelts, V, def. Lauren Kohlbraf/Annelise Moe, 6-1, 6-1.