VIRGINIA — The Virginia girls’ tennis team had to wait a long time to host their first home match of the season this year. The wait was worth it for the Blue Devils as they blew past visiting Hermantown, 7-0.
For new head coach Kortney Rosati, it was also her first home victory in her coaching career. Rosati said the win felt great for both her and her squad that had been solely on the road until Monday.
“It was exciting to finally get out and have a home match,” Rosati said. “It was my first home match as a coach and I know the girls were excited to finally be at home. A lot of people came out too so it was nice to see the support from the community and get the win for them.”
The Blue Devils shifted a few players in their lineup, notably moving No. 1 singles player Mary Skorich to No. 1 doubles, moving Ava Fink to the top spot for the Blue Devils.
The shifts seemed to work as Rosati praised her team’s flexibility in the sweep of the Hawks.
“The girls were looking forward to this match and I know a lot of them were excited to play at a few different spots. We had some girls go from singles to doubles and vice-versa and I think everyone was receptive to that and ready to try some new things. I know they worked a lot harder having to play in a different spot than they were used to.”
In singles, Ava Fink made quick work of Hermantown’s Gabi Johnson at the No. 1 spot, winning 6-0, 6-2. Anna Fink grabbed the W at the No. 2 spot, defeating the Hawks’ Jessi Kukowski, 6-0, 6-1.
At No. 3 singles, Ella Lamppa downed Hermantown’s Haily Landigren, 6-2, 6-4 and Theresa Anderson wrapped up the Virginia sweep for the Blue Devils, winning at the No. 4 spot over Emily Gustufson, 6-2, 6-3.
With Ava Fink occupying the top singles spot, Rosati paid special attention to her match wondering how the junior would play at No. 1.
“Ava, I think, is coming on very strong. She’s playing well and we pushed her up to that No. 1 singles spot and she came to perform. She took on that challenge wonderfully and I think she’s definitely one to keep a watch on.”
In doubles, Skorich teamed up with Jayda Westerbur at the No. 1 spot and cruised to victory in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1 over Hermantown’s Lauren Palokangas and Grace Hajec.
The Blue Devils opened doubles play on the day in the No. 3 spot with Ellie Manninen and Mariele Paulson having no trouble with Hermantown’s Ava Anick and Reese Heitzman. The pair downed the Hawks duo in quick fashion, 6-0, 6-2.
The last doubles match of the day to wrap up, No. 2 pair Abby Keyport and Abby Kramer finished off the doubles sweep for Virginia, defeating Olivia Hinsala and Hailey Winklesky, 7-6(3), 6-3.
A home victory under their belt, Rosati says her team is playing well and adjusting to playing tennis with school now officially in session.
“There’s a lot of changes going on this year and I really commend the girls on how they’re handling everything. With me being a first-year coach, I’m still learning along with them and they’re helping me out as much as I’m helping them. I know I can count on them to be responsible when it comes to staying on top of school. They’re always getting work down when they have some down time and we’re on the road and they’re getting it down. They know they have to do well in school if they want to play and that’s not something I have to worry about with this group of girls.”
The Blue Devils will take on Hibbing Thursday in a rematch from their first match of the year. Virginia downed the Bluejackets 6-1 to open their season, but some of the individual matches were closer than the overall score would indicate. Rosati expects a tough match from Hibbing the second time around.
“I know Hibbing has gotten much better as the season has gone on so I’m expecting another close match with them. Some of the matches could have gone either way the first time and I think they’ll want to come out and play even harder the second time. But our girls are going to come ready too and I know they’ve also gotten better since we started.”
Rosati says those improvements will keep coming from her squad and attributes their on-court improvement, again, to their flexibility as players.
“I didn’t know the girls as well back then as I do now but we’ve all grown together as a team and as individuals. They’re very good at telling me what they think they need to improve on and they take the initiative to work on that without me having to tell them.
“I’ve seen them step up and work on their games and continue to prove that they’re flexible and play multiple spots on the court. I know some tennis players like to stay in their spot, whether it be singles or doubles, but they’re proving to me they want to do whatever it takes to help the team win.”
Virginia 7, Hermantown 0
Singles: No. 1 Ava Fink, V, def. Gabi Johnson, H, 6-0, 6-2; No. 2 Anna Fink, V, def. Jessi Kukowski, H, 6-0, 6-1; No. 3 Ella Lamppa, V, def. Haily Landigren, H, 6-2, 6-4; No. 4 Theresa Anderson, V, def. Emily Gustufson, H, 6-2, 6-3.
Doubles: No. 1 Jayda Westerbur/Mary Skorich, V, def. Lauren Palokangas/Grace Hajec, H, 6-0, 6-1; No. 2 Abby Keyport/Abby Kramer, V, def. Olivia Hinsala/Hailey Winklesky, H, 7-6(3), 6-3; No. 3 Ellie Manninen/Mariele Paulson, V, def. Ava Anick/Reese Heitzman, H, 6-0, 6-2
Virginia 7, Cloquet/Esko/Carlton 0
At Cloquet, the Blue Devils picked up a road sweep Thursday, downing CEC 7-0.
Six of Virginia’s seven matches were won in straight sets with Abby Keyport completing a three-set comeback at No. 4 singles to keep the Virginia sweep intact.
Virginia senior Mary Skorich picked up a win at No. 1 singles, downing Marina Dostal 6-1, 6-3. Ava Fink cruised in her No .2 singles match over CEC’s Winnie Benjamin-Hall, 6-3, 6-4.
At No. 3 singles, Anna Fink downed CEC’s Addie Loeb in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. Finally, Abby Keyport dropped the first set to CEC’s Lydia Stone at the No. 4 spot, 2-6, but made short work of her in sets two and three, winning 6-0, 6-2 to finish the comeback.
In doubles, Virginia’s Anneka Lundgren and Jacie Smith earned a victory at the No. 1 spot, downing Kylie McKeon and Brynn Martin, 6-3, 6-4. The Blue Devils’ Jayda Westerbur and Ella Lamppa dispatched Carlee Maslowski and Jayden Karppinen at the No. 2 spot, 6-3, 6-0. Finally, Abby Kramer And Ellie Manninen cruised to a win at the No. 3 doubles spot for Virginia, defeating Bella Harriman and Camden Pollard, 6-2, 6-0.
Virginia 7, Cloquet/Esko/Carlton 0
Singles: No. 1 Mary Skorich, V, def. Marina Dostal, CEC, 6-1, 6-3; No. 2 Ava Fink, V, def. Winnie Benjamin-Hall, CEC, 6-1, 6-0; No. 3 Anna Fink, V, def. Addie Loeb, CEC, 6-3, 6-4; No. 4 Abby Keyport, V, def. Lydia Stone, CEC, 2-6, 6-0, 6-2.
Doubles: No. 1 Anneka Lundgren/Jacie Smith, V, def. Kylie McKeon/Brynn Martin, CEC, 6-3, 6-3; No. 2 Jayda Westerbur/Ella Lamppa, V, def. Carlee Maslowski/Jayden Karppinen, CEC, 6-3, 6-0; No. 3 Abby Kramer/Ellie Manninen, V, def. Bella Harriman/Camden Pollard, CEC, 6-2, 6-0.