The pair makes their third straight trip to state as a doubles team hoping to win it all for the first time.
On Thursday, October 26, Crookston High School seniors Ally Tiedemann and Amy Follette will trek to Minneapolis to compete for a state title in tennis doubles.
For the seniors, this will be the third straight year they play in the state tournament,, but the constant reappearance at the highest level does not go to their heads. Rather, it reminds them of what lies ahead.
“Since we’ve been there, we know that state has no easy wins,” Amy Follette said. “You are not going to get any free games or free points. You have to work for everything.”
Ally Tiedemann acknowledged that playing in the state tournament will be easier than previous years given their experience as well as a chance to let loose and enjoy their final matches of their high school careers.
“Since we’ve been there before, we know what to expect,” Ally Tiedemann said. “We can just go and play and not worry about the first time jitters. The goal is to go to state so when you get there, you can just have fun. Not everybody gets to do it.”
At state, Tiedemann and Follette will be one of 16 doubles teams. Three wins get them to the championship match with the fourth serving as the ultimate goal.
The duo is no stranger to success at the state level. As sophomores, they were a part of the runner-up Pirates team and as juniors, the pair placed fourth. Of course Tiedemann and Follette would like to take the crown this time around, but they are not about to let the joy of competing at the state level slip away in the midst of the desire to win.
“Geff [Mike Geffre] always says state is the fun part and sections is the hard part,” Follette said. “So we’re just going to try and have a lot of fun and try to do better than what we did last year when we got fourth.”
Tiedemann and Follette have been playing the game of tennis together since the age of seven. It was the familiarity with each other that led to them playing together in their final year.
To decide who plays with whom and what level they play, the players are ranked. The top player then gets first choice of whether to play singles or doubles and who they want to be their partner. Tiedemann, the first overall player for the Pirates, elected to play doubles and Follette was her first choice.
Tiedemann saw it as an opportunity to increase their chances of advancing to state.
“I felt like we had a better chance to go further,” Tiedemann said. “Singles has really good competition. It would be really tough to go to state.”
Tiedemann and Follette spent most of the season not playing with each other. Tiedemann played the majority of her matches in first singles and Follette jumped around mainly playing first doubles and second singles. They did manage to play 11 matches together this season and won all of them with four of them coming in the section tournament. Not only are they 11-0 when playing together, but Tiedemann and Follette are also 22-0 in sets when they play.
The stats could mean nothing to them as they admitted they have not even cracked their full potential as a doubles team.
“We have not been playing our best together because we don’t usually get to play together,” Follette said. “So it takes us a while to get back in our groove. Hopefully we will play our best tennis at state.”
Along with the consistency of knowing each other on and off the court, they have been under the tutelage of their coach Mike Geffre for six years.
When asked about the end of their careers at Crookston and bidding farewell to each other and their coach, Tiedemann and Follette admitted the conclusion of their tennis-playing as Pirates will be difficult, but they try not to think about it just yet.
“That will be tough because Geff has had such an impact on not only our tennis season, but school as well,” Tiedemann said. “He’s almost like a third parent to us.”
Tiedemann and Follette both alluded to one main Geffre saying, “Nothing is worth getting upset about.” Tiedemann and Follette take the advice to heart and claim it helps keep their emotions in check.
Tiedemann and Follette will start their final matches and their journey to a state championship on Thursday, October 26 in Minneapolis. The matches start at 10 a.m.