They faced the Winjum sisters, Hayden and Halle, in the semifinals Thursday.
Thursday at Courts Plus in Fargo, Crookston Pirate juniors Catherine Tiedemann and Emma Borowicz will be playing a doubles tennis match with a repeat trip to state in Minneapolis on the line. As sophomores, the pair made it to state in 2018, too.
The Pirates' highest seed at the Section 8A Individual Tennis Tournament in Fargo - postponed to this week because of inclement weather last week - the #2-seeded juniors won both their matches on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals, where they faced the Winjums, who as the #6 seed also won both their matches Wednesday, including an upset in the quarterfinals of the #3 seeded pair.
That set up an all-Crookston semifinal Thursday, and Tiedemann and Borowicz defeated the Winjums in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
Coach Cody Brekken said it's tough for teammates to have to play each other, but he said it's sometimes unavoidable. Tournament organizers set up the brackets to avoid such a scenario in earlier rounds, but once the tournament reaches the semifinals, it can happen. It happened last spring for the Pirates, too, when two boys' doubles tandems from Crookston had to play each other in the section semis.
"It's tough to see, (Tiedemann, Borowicz and the Winjum sisters) having to face each other, but you have to just let them play it out," Brekken said. "I talked to all four of them before the match and said 'You're always teammates, but compete and push each other hard so that whoever wins, you made them play their best going into the championship."
It's possible Tiedemann and Borowicz will advance to state for the second consecutive year even if they don't take first place. It's kind of convoluted, but here's how it works: If the Winjums win their third place match and Tiedemann and Borowicz lose the championship, they will still advance to state. But if Tiedemann and Borowicz lose the championship and the Winjums lose their third place match, Tiedemann and Borowicz will have to "defend" their second place standing in a "true second" match against the pair that defeated the Winjum sisters. None of that will matter if Tiedemann and Borowicz take care of business in the championship match, which is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
Brekken said it's great as a coach to have your players playing their best when it matters most at the end of the season. "All of the girls at each of the spots (six Pirates competed in the individual portion of the section tournament) played the best tennis that they have all year and that's all I could ask for," he said.
Asked for his thoughts on Wednesday's Pirate results in Fargo, which had singles players Emma Osborn and Hannah Lindemoen each eliminated after losing their first matches, Brekken had this to say about the two singles players:
"Emma lost to Maggie Dietrich who is EGF's #1 singles player and will make a run for the section singles champ. Emma hits a hard ball and player her tough through the end," Brekken said.
As for Lindemoen, she lost to Perham's top singles player, Jade Lenius. "Hannah's serve was tough for Jade to handle and they got in really long rallies, but Jade is a good, consistent player who didn’t make any mistakes," Brekken said.
The Pirates' two doubles tandems went 4-0 to advance to Thursday. Brekken said the Winjum sisters really rose to the occasion, especially in defeating Roseau's top doubles tandem. "(The Winjums) played consistent hustle tennis, outworking their opponents and taking advantage at the net enough times," he explained.
As for Tiedemann and Borowicz, Brekken said they're getting better with each match and have been dominant at the net. "They play off each other's strengths well and hope to keep it rolling," he said.