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Pesch and Paulseth win sub-section doubles title

By John George sports@eot.com For the first time ever, the Perham girls tennis team has a sub-section title to put in the trophy case. The Yellowjackets No. 1 doubles team of Ali Pesch and Abby Paulseth won the 8A South Sub-Section doubles title ...

By John George

sports@eot.com

For the first time ever, the Perham girls tennis team has a sub-section title to put in the trophy case.

The Yellowjackets No. 1 doubles team of Ali Pesch and Abby Paulseth won the 8A South Sub-Section doubles title last week in Park Rapids. As the No. 1 seed in the tournament, they cruised to three wins without losing a set, even though they needed a tiebreak to win the second set in the title match against the team of Lawrence and Kading of Park Rapids.

Both had played their share of singles throughout the season, Pesch in the No. 1 spot with Paulseth at No. 2. But the two friends love playing doubles together. And as a team, they have been almost unbeatable this year, earning All-Conference honors along the way.

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The two are confident heading into sections and are looking forward to being pioneers...the Yellowjackets have never advanced anyone to State. They are the first No. 1 seed for the Perham tennis team at Sections.

First and second place from sections advance to State. The Class A State Tennis Meet will be Oct. 24-27 at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis. Check mshsl.org for more information.

Perham's other doubles team, Mariah Muer and Maria Lindberg, will also play in the Section tournament with a fourth place finish.

The top four singles players and doubles teams from the sub-section advanced to the Section Tournament in Grand Forks on Oct. 17.

Four Eagles advance

The NY Mills Eagles will also be well represented at the Section tournament. For the first time since 2002, Mills had two singles players and one doubles team advance out of the sub-section tournament.

"It feels pretty good to see the players hard work this season pay off for them," Bach said.

The Eagles top singles player, Whitney Koehler, was seeded No. 2 in the tournament, but leg cramps slowed her day. She needed three sets to win her first round match over ninth seeded Stacy Norman of Bagley, who had beaten Perham's Becca Huebsch in a play-in match. Koehler then lost her semifinal match to No. 3 seed Holly Roepke of Park Rapids after a second set tiebreak.

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No. 5 seed Steph Hendrickx of NY Mills was an upset winner in her first round match over No. 4 Amy Pawlowski of Perham. She lost to eventual sub-section champ Megan Lawrence of Park Rapids in the semi's, setting up a third place match against Koehler.

Hendrickx won the first set, 6-4, and was ahead 2-1 in the second when Koehler retired due to the leg cramps. Bach expects Koehler to be 100 percent for the Section tournament.

The Eagles top doubles team, No. 4 seeded Erica Imsande and Lauri Vorderbruggen, beat the No. 5 team from Park Rapids in the quarterfinals, then ran into Pesch and Paulseth in the semi's.

The Mills duo rebounded by beating Perham's Muer and Lindberg, in the third place match.

Muer and Lindberg, the No. 3 seed, beat Mills' Kendal Perala and Christine Becker in the first round, before losing to the No. 2 seeded team from Park Rapids in the semifinals.

Team Sub-Sections

They say it's hard to beat a team three times in a season. New York Mills tried to prove that to the Yellowjacket tennis team last Wednesday in the 8A South Sub-Section semifinals. The Eagles gave Perham all they could handle, but the Jackets prevailed over their HI-10 Rival for the third time this season, 5-2.

Mills had an early advantage, taking the first set in all three doubles matches. Their No. 1 team of Imsande and Vorderbruggen went on to win in straight sets. At No. 2 doubles, the Perham team of Whitney Delaney and Emily Wurgler came back to win the final two sets. The same happened at No. 3 doubles as Emily Lindberg and Brita Sundburg rallied for a 2-1 win.

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"They (NYM) really came out strong and looked like they were ready to beat us with first set wins in all the doubles matches and at No. 1 singles," said Perham head coach Kurt Pesch. "It was a good wake-up call to us to focus and step-up our game."

"Our girls came to play and it was a nail-biter right down to the second and third doubles matches," Eagle head coach Gary Bach said.

In addition to the win at No. 1 doubles, NY Mills won at No. 1 singles with Whitney Koehler picking up a straight-set win over Ali Pesch.

The Jackets the other three singles matches in two sets.

Mills finished the season with a 5-10 dual record.

"Although we didn't make the finals, we really competed and played some very good tennis," Bach said. "Our seniors (Koehler, Imsande, Vorderbruggen)especially came through. Unfortunately, we couldn't pick up the close ones in the bottom doubles or singles where we have often scored team points this season."

Perham would move on to take on top seeded Park Rapids for the sub-section title.

The Jackets had never beaten Park Rapids and would have liked nothing more than to get that first win in the playoffs. Perham came very close, but fell short, 4-3.

Perham coaches altered the line-up to make the team stronger in doubles. They were hoping for a sweep in doubles and pick up one singles win.

The strategy almost worked. The Jackets did sweep all three doubles matches, led by an impressive showing by the No. 1 team of Pesch and Paulseth over the Panthers top duo.

Unfortunately, the Perham singles players were a bit overmatched, losing all four matches in two sets. Emily Lindberg put up a good fight in a 6-4, 6-3 loss at No. 3 singles.

The Jackets team finished 9-7 in dual meets.

Tuesday, Crookston beat Park Rapids, 6-1, for the 8A title. Crookston won the North Sub-Section tournament by beating defending section champ Thief River Falls, 5-2, in the finals.

Wednesday, October 10

8A South Sub-Section Semifinals

(at Perham)

#2 Perham 5, #3 New York Mills 2

Singles

1. Whitney Koehler (NYM) def. Ali Pesch, 6-4, 6-3; 2. Abby Paulseth (P) def. Stephanie Hendrickx, 6-3, 7-5; 3. Amy Pawlowski (P) def. Savannah Thompson, 6-4, 6-2; 4. Becca Huebsch (P) def. Beth Rimpila, 6-4, 6-2.

Doubles

1. Erica Imsande & Lauri Vorderbruggen (NYM) def. Mariah Muer & Maria Lindberg, 6-3, 6-4; 2. Whitney Delaney & Emily Wurgler (P) def. Christine Becker & Kendal Perala, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2; 3. Emily Lindberg & Brita Sundberg (P) def. Trisha Loerzel & Chelsey Hendrickx, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.

#1 Park Rapids 7, #4 Mahnomen 0

South Sub-Section Finals

#1 Park Rapids 4, #3 Perham 2

Singles

1. Lawrence (PR) def. Huebsch, 6-0, 6-0; 2. Roepke (PR) def. Danielle Brenk, 6-0, 6-0; 3. Lempola (PR) def. E. Lindberg, 6-4, 6-3; 4. LaCousiere (PR) def. Sundberg, 6-0, 6-2.

Doubles

1. Pesch & Paulseth (P) def. Lawrence & Kading, 6-3, 6-2; 2. Pawlowski & Muer (P) def. Klingenberg & Carlson, 6-3, 6-3; 3. Delaney & M. Lindberg (P) def. Johanning & Thelen, 7-5, 6-4.

8A North Sub-Section Semifinals

(at Grand Forks)

Crookston 5, Roseau 2

Thief Rver Falls 4, East Grand Forks 3

8A North Sub-Section Finals

Crookston 5, Thief River Falls 2

Thursday, October 11

8A South Sub-Section Individual Tournament

Top-4 advance to Section Tournament

Singles

Play-In

Norman (B) def. Huebsch (P), 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.

Quarterfinals

Koehler (NYM) def. Norman (B), 6-0, 7-6 (7-3); S. Hendrickx (NYM) def. Pawlowski (P), 6-1, 6-4.

Semifinals

Roepke (PR) def. Koehler (NYM), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4; Lawrence (PR) def. S. Hendrickx (NYM), 6-1, 6-1

Third Place

S. Hendrickx (NYM) def. Koehler (NYM), 6-4, 2-1 (Injury Default)

Championship

Lawrence (PR) def. Roepke (PR), 6-0, 6-0

Doubles

Quarterfinals

Pesch & Paulseth (P) def. Benson & Noll (M), 6-1, 6-0; Imsande & Vorderbruggen (NYM) def. Klingenberg & Carlson (PR), 6-3, 6-4; Muer & M. Lindberg (P) def. Becker & Perala (NYM), 6-3, 6-3.

Semifinals

Pesch & Paulseth (P) def. Imsande & Vorderbruggen (NYM), 6-1, 6-1; Lawrence & Kading (PR) def. Muer & M. Lindberg (P), 6-2, 6-2

Third Place

Imsande & Vorderbruggen (NYM) def. Muer & M. Lindberg (P), 6-3, 6-4

Championship

Pesch & Paulseth (P) def. Lawrence & Kading (PR), 6-3, 7-6 (7-1).

Tuesday, October 16

Section 8A Championship

(at Grand Forks)

Crookston 6, Park Rapids 1

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