BY ROB LAPLANTE
The St. Michael-Albertville girls’ tennis team is off to a flying start and wins over Buffalo, Mound-Westonka and Rocori have them 9-1 to start the season.
The only blemish on the schedule through the first 10 matches came in a 4-3 loss to Annandale in the STMA Quadrangular. Last Tuesday, the Knights won its first conference matchup with a 5-2 victory against Buffalo.
The Knights took three-of-four singles matches from the Bison. Junior singles player Jessica Duda continued her hot start with a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 2 singles. Senior Breanna Hagerty and freshman Kiana Eystad also picked up singles wins.
The No. 2 doubles tandem of senior Kristina Budde and junior Brittany Haas picked up a 6-2, 6-0 victory. Likewise, senior Michaela Haraldson and sophomore Shelbie Olek won their No. 3 doubles victory 6-1, 6-3.
“Our number two, three and fourth doubles really played well together and were very consistent,” said STMA head coach Jim Riles. ऀ
Ironically, the only points the Knights surrendered came at the top singles and doubles slots.
The Knights were scheduled to play their second conference matchup last Thursday at Big Lake, but rain forced the match to be rescheduled for October 1 at 3:30 p.m.
The Knights swept a pair of Saturday matches at the STMA Invitational played at Middle School West.
A pair of 6-1 victories over Mound-Westonka and Cold Spring Rocori improved the Knights’ record to 9-1.
Playing without top singles player Cierra Eystad, a senior, who missed Saturday’s Invite while taking her ACT test, the Knights inserted Duda to the top singles slot. Duda lost her matchup to Mound-Westonka 6-1, 6-3. But, like the matchup with Buffalo, the other three singles players all won their matches.
No. 4 singles player Missy Gust moved up from the junior varsity top spot and won her match 6-3, 6-1. Kiana Eystad and Hagerty also won at singles. Doubles swept all three matches, including a solid 6-3, 6-2 win from senior’s Kylie Slavin and Halley Fritze at the No. 1 spot.
In the No. 4 doubles matchup, Anna Moritz stepped in for senior Erika Duley, who also was taking her ACT test. Although the fourth doubles doesn’t count in the final team scoring, Moritz and senior Brittney Ferrian won its match 6-2, 6-2.
“It was nice to see Moritz play stepping in for Duley,” Riles said. “All the singles players played well having to move up one spot with Cierra out.”
The Knights topped the afternoon off with a 6-1 victory over Rocori. The only missed point came at No. 2 doubles. Slavin and Fritze battled for a key 6-3, 7-6 win at No. 1 doubles. The duo trailed in the second set, but battled back to win it in a tiebreaker.
Haraldson and Olek also fought hard for a 7-5, 6-4 victory at No. 3 doubles.
“Rocori went with a stronger doubles lineup against us,” Riles said. “Our doubles teams really moved well together and were serving well all day.”
Playing in her third match this season at No. 1 singles, Duda picked up a 6-2, 6-3 victory at the top spot. Hagerty breezed to a 6-0, 6-0 win and Kiana Eystad and Ferrian also picked up wins.
Tuesday’s match with Rogers was unavailable at deadline. Thursday they host Monticello at 4 p.m.