By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
The St. Michael-Albertville boys’ tennis season officially ended after Bemidji’s Matt Hokanson and Noah Holter knocked off STMA senior Thor Holstad and junior Denver Robak in the opening round of the Section 8AA individual playoffs.
The doubles tandem came in seeded third in the south bracket and had to face the north’s No. 2 seed in the opening round.
Holstad and Robak were eliminated from contention after dropping a 6-4, 6-1 match and ending the hopes of a state title berth.
Holstad’s six-year varsity career ended leading the team in overall wins with a singles-doubles record of 14-4. Robak went 13-5 as a top singles player and doubles player down the stretch.
The Knights were eliminated as a team earlier in the week with a 4-3 loss to Buffalo.
STMA recently named their team award winners with both Holstad and Robak earning co-MVP honors. Robak won the top-singles player honor and most improved went to both Zach Schopf, a senior and sophomore John Budde. Sophomore Taylor Rothstein received the hardest worker honor.
Holstad, Schopf and Austin Brouillette are the three seniors graduating and STMA head coach Jim Riles returns eight varsity lettermen.
“I thought we had a very good year,” Riles said. “We ended up 10-4 and second place in conference play. We had strong leadership from our three seniors. We look for a strong season next year with eight starters returning.”