VIRGINIA – Coming into Monday’s Section 7A quarterfinal contest with No. 7 Pierz, the second-seeded Eveleth-Gilbert girls’ tennis team wanted to play sharp and control the match from start to finish.
The Bears did just that, sweeping the Pioneers 7-0 to advance to the section semifinals. Eveleth-Gilbert didn’t drop a single set across the entire match, with each point won coming fairly convincingly.
In singles, Lydia Delich was on and off the court in short order in her No. 1 singles match with Pierz’s Madde Andrea. Delich didn’t drop a game in her 6-0, 6-0 win over the Pioneers senior.
At No. 2 singles, Katelyn Torrel was nearly perfect for the Bears, defeating Chrissy Schaefer, 6-1, 6-0 to pick up a point for E-G.
Julia Lindseth saw similar success for Eveleth-Gilbert at third singles, taking down Pierz’s Alex Thielen in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0. Finally at No. 4 singles, E-G’s Mayme Scott battled through a tough first set with Olivia Thielen, but took it 6-4 before cruising in the second set to secure the win 6-0.
In doubles, the top duo of Anna Beaudette and Mylee Young played strong against a tough doubles duo in Britney Schommer and Morgan Pohlkamp. The Golden Bear tandem pieced things together, however, for the 6-2, 6-2 win.
At No. 2 doubles, Ayla Troutwine and Hanna Beldo had little issue in their match, defeating the Pioneers’ Kenna Otte and Kylee Kapsher 6-1, 6-3. Finally at No. 3 doubles, it was two close sets for E-G’s Alyssa Grahek and Alex Flannigan, but they prevailed in both, defeating Pierz’s Abbie Virnig and Marissa Otremba 7-5, 6-4.
When it came to the playoffs, the Golden Bears and their head coach Jessica Kralich made it a goal to come out strong in the biggest moments. In Kralich’s eyes, her team did just that.
“The girls came out and played very well today,” Kralich said. “I know playoffs are an exciting time and they played hard. We as a coaching staff are so proud of them with the way they played and we’re very impressed with what we saw.
Going from the regular season to a playoff atmosphere can be challenging according to Kralich, which is why she stressed the importance of playing every point with full intensity.
“We talked to them beforehand about how important this match is. Every point matters. Every ball you hit matters. I think they took that to heart today.”
Even in some of the closer matches, Kralich says she was impressed with how she saw her players adjust and pull through.
“They had a lot of determination to keep going and I didn’t see a single one of them give up today. Even if they got down, they just kept going and kept pushing forward.”
E-G will take on No. 3 Virginia today at 3 p.m. in Eveleth. In their first two matches with the Devils, the Bears came out on top in close bouts — 4-3 both times. Facing Virginia yet again, Kralich says confidence will be key.
“We have to keep the same mentality we had today and use it in future matches. Just be confident and play every point like it matters. Give it your best on every ball. Tennis is a mental game so telling themselves they have the ability to keep winning and keep playing is the biggest way we can help ourselves.”
The section semifinals were originally scheduled for Wednesday, but have since been moved to today if the weather holds. Eveleth-Gilbert will play host to Virginia today at 3 p.m. in Eveleth. If the weather is poor, the match will be moved to Wednesday in Virginia.
No. 2 Eveleth-Gilbert 7, No. 7 Pierz 0
Singles: No. 1 Lydia Delich, EG, def. Madde Andrea, 6-0, 6-0; No. 2 Katelyn Torrel, EG, def. Chrissy Schaefer, 6-1, 6-0; No. 3 Julia Lindseth, EG, def. Alex Thielen, 6-1, 6-0; No. 4 Mayme Scott, EG, def. Olivia Thielen, 6-4, 6-0.
Doubles: No. 1 Anna Beaudette/Mylee Young, EG, def. Brittney Schommer/Morgan Pohlkamp, 6-2, 6-2; No. 2 Ayla Troutwine/Hanna Beldo, EG, def. Kenna Otte/Kylee Kapsher, 6-1, 6-3; No. 3 Alyssa Grahek/Alex Flannigan, EG, def. Abbie Virnig/Marissa Otremba, 7-5, 6-4.