TENNIS PREVIEW: New York Mills tennis battles a road-weary schedule
The New York Mills girls tennis team returns three players who made it to the section playoffs last year in the individual portion of the tournament.
Junior Abby Salo and Vicky Selander, along with senior Emily Blomberg all bring experience to the Eagles netters.
Selander advanced out of the first round of sections by defeating Perham's Ashley Silbernagel in comeback fashion, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
Blomberg ran into a very good Crookston player, Abbey Wilder, and was defeated love and one in the opening play-in round.
Salo partnered with Kristin Kane and advanced to the quarterfinals in doubles.
Kane and Salo won their first match defeating Wadena-Deer Creek's Ashley Carlson and Hanna Jacobson in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.
The duo lost to the eventual section runners-up Allie Girtz and Bonnie Baumgartner of Park Rapids 6-0, 6-0.
Salo, Selander and Blomberg are the only upperclassmen on a team of 10 players.
The Eagles will play three sophomores: Jordin Roberts, Kori Salo and Maddy Keskitalo; two freshman: Jewelle Boe and Robyn Harper, and two eighth-graders: Mallory Weber and Hannah Koennicke.
First-year coach Eric Weber, who replaces Gary Bach, will lead the team.
Given the team plays with the minimum amount of players to fill four singles matches and three doubles matches, or sometimes less, the Eagles had a rough year up to the very end of the season.
New York Mills entered their final match against rival Perham winless.
The Eagles avenged two losses to the Yellowjackets earlier in the season by scores of 5-2 in September and 4-3 the day prior to the two teams meeting in the section play-in game.
The Eagles swept all the singles matches in windy conditions not ideal for tennis play for a 4-3 upset victory advancing to play top-rated Pequot Lakes.
Selander and Salo notched victories in their singles matches against the Patriots. Blomberg paired with then-senior Kane in a close 6-4, 6-4 loss in doubles.
Salo has taken over the No. 1 singles position early this season.
Blomberg remains mostly a doubles player and Selander has rotated in both singles and doubles trying to find a spot to give the Eagles their best chance to win.
Roberts and Kori Salo saw varsity action last season and teamed up as a doubles pair as freshman and will be improved this season.
The Eagles opened up their season with three matches at the Osakis quadrangular and came away with things to work on losing all three matches by scores of 7-0 to the host Silverstreaks, Melrose and Morris Area.
In fairness, Osakis went to state last season, Melrose won the West Central North Conference championship and lost 4-3 to Osakis in sections.
As they did last season, NY Mills is frequently forced to forfeit one match. This season it has been at No. 4-singles, which puts the Eagles down 1-0 before a match has started.
Making the season a bit more difficult is the fact the Eagles play 11 matches and tournaments on the road, only four at home.
The Eagle girls like to compete and they saved what could have been a meager season last year with some heroics late in the year and put together some playoff performances to build upon.
Osakis 7, NY Mills 0
#1- Taylor Kraemer (O) def. Abby Salo 6-2, 6-1
#2- Hannah Baker (O) def. Jewelle Boe 6-1, 6-1
#3- Angie Bowman (O) def. Mallory Weber 6-1, 6-1
#4- Hannah Szech (O) won by forfeit
#1- Lauren Silbernick/Alexa Hoffarth (O) def. Emily Blomberg/Victoria Selander 6-1, 6-3
#2- Peyton Garcia/Katie Anderson (O) def. Kori Salo/Maddy Keskitalo 6-1, 6-1
#3- Elyse Wiener/Morgan Silbernick (O) def. Hannah Koenniecki/Robyn Harper 6-2, 6-1.
Morris/Chokio-Alberta 7, New York Mills 0
#1- Darcey Aronson (MACA) def. Abby Salo 6-2, 7-5
#2- Megan Wagner (MACA) def. Victoria Selander 6-2, 4-6 (10-5)
#3- Shelby Marthaler (MACA) def. Mallory Weber 6-1, 6-1
#4- Kindra Cannon (MACA) won by forfeit
#1- Carly Gullickson/Abbie Olson (MACA) def. Emily Blomberg/Jewelle Boe 6-1, 6-1
#2- Kjersa Anderson/Kaitlin Vogel (MACA) def. Kori Salo/Maddy Keskitalo 6-2, 6-1
#3- Emily Moser/Elizabeth Schneider def. Hannah Koenniecki/Robyn Harper 6-3, 6-1.
Abby Salo 11
Emily Blomberg 12
Hannah Koennicke 8
Jewelle Boe 9
Jordin Roberts 10
Kori Salo 10
Maddy Keskitalo 10
Mallory Weber 8
Robyn Harper 9
Victoria Selander 11