Catherine Tiedemann and Emma Borowicz have established themselves as a consistent presence in the Minnesota tennis scene.

It just hasn't yet resulted in wins at the biggest stage.

In the juniors' second straight year at the individual Class A state championships, the Crookston doubles tandem was eliminated on Thursday after losses to Minnewaska's Danielle Thorfinnson and Alissa Thorfinnson and Neriah Lara and Vaida Behnke of Litchfield.

Last year, Tiedemann and Borowicz were the second-youngest team to make it Minneapolis. They were eliminated after losses to Minnewaska and Litchfield, but their youth, coupled with constantly-growing experience, hinted at further success down the road.

Still, the duo knew that this didn't guarantee a return performance.

"That's something we tried to manage all year round," said Pirates coach Cody Brekken. "Even going through the sections, you never know kinda what team will put their good players ... their one and two singles players and have them play doubles this year. Year-by-year it's definitely not, 'Oh, I went to state last year, we should be able to go next year too. 'You want to have that confidence, but you got to make sure you're on your game through the whole time."

But once Tiedemann and Borowicz did punch their ticket back to state, finishing second in the Section 8A Tournament, they were more composed and familiar with the setting.

"Just talking to the girls, they were just kinda seeing how it went last year, and figuring out the process of it all," Brekken said.

Luck of the draw meant that Tiedemann and Borowicz would play the same teams they faced the year prior. According to Brekken, this only added to their confidence, even though they only faced one of the same girls they did in 2018 — and it also meant avoiding traditional powerhouse schools from Minneapolis or Rochester.

Fifth-seeded Minnewaska, however, proved to be too formidable for the unseeded Crookston duo. Tiedemann and Borowicz dropped the first set, 0-6, and despite coming back to take a 4-1 lead in the second set, gave up six of the next seven games to lose, 5-7, and fall into the consolation bracket.

"They were a tough one to beat," Brekken said. "Two really strong girls — sisters, actually. They would have been a tough one to get."

Four hours later, Tiedemann and Borowicz returned to the court to play Lara and Behnke.

After losing the first set 3-6, their backs were against the wall. However, just as they did in the first set, Tiedemann and Borowicz showed their resiliency, battling back to win 6-3 and force a tiebreaker for the right to move on.

"These two girls, it's hard to crack them," Brekken said. " ... After the set break, that gave them a chance to just hit the reset button, and they knew they needed to come out with a little bit more fire and kinda get things going.

"They're just seasoned tennis players that have been playing a long time, and they didn't let the scenario or where they were playing change how they played. They went out there and played tough."

And for a while, that toughness looked like it would catapult the Pirates into the next round, as they scored four of the first five points of the tiebreaker.

Lara and Behnke, though, were just too much. They came back to win, 10-8, and send Tiedemann and Borowicz home.

Two losses aside, Brekken believes that the juniors met expectations in their second go-around. But with two straight appearances, the bar for success will be higher in Tiedemann and Borowicz's final season.

"They're playing better tennis, it's just that they're running into some teams that were also there last year as well," Brekken said. "Lot of familiar faces at the tournament this year. They'll put themselves up on a higher standard next year, and they'll be ready to rock and ready to work to make some more noise down there."


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