Girls' tennis: Pirates cruise past Roseau, 6-1, behind strong singles play
In Cody Brekken's experience, doubles matches don't usually take too much time. But Tuesday's No. 2 doubles showdown between Crookston and Roseau was one of the longest the Pirates' coach had ever seen.
It was everything else that ran short instead.
Crookston girls' tennis rolled over Roseau, 6-1, at home in its season opener Tuesday afternoon, behind a dominating performance in singles and a gritty, start-slow finish-fast effort in doubles.
The No. 2 slot was the epitome of that. The Pirate duo of Halle Bruggeman and Brekken Tull fought the Rams' Julia Braaten and Masynn Janicke to a stalemate in the first set before winning the tiebreaker — the only one of the afternoon. Bruggeman and Tull wrapped up the second set far quicker, in 6-1 fashion.
"It was just a couple nerves to work out, and maybe a little lazy on their feet," Brekken said. "Second set, they came out and did a little bit more talking, stayed on their toes and it paid off."
Bruggeman and Tull's second set was more reminiscent of Crookston's singles showing. The Pirates dropped just two of 50 singles games to the Rams, paced by sweeps by Catherine Tiedemann at No. 1 and Emma Osborn at No. 4. Hayden and Halle Winjum, playing at No. 2 and No. 3 respectively, each beat their opponents 6-1, 6-0.
While Osborn is a relative newcomer to singles, the other three Pirates played in the same spots Tuesday as they did for much of last season. In tricky, breezy conditions, Brekken thought that their experience gave them an edge.
"Even in practice last week it had been hot and windy," Brekken said. " ... They know how to keep the ball in play, take their time and force their opponent to make a mistake. Catherine and Emma, those two specifically, they know how to move their opponent side to side and hit a harder ball."
Roseau earned its only point through its top doubles pairing. The experienced Kiersten Flaig and Lindsay McFarlane shut out Emma Gunderson and Hannah Lindemoen in the first set and finished off a two-set win, 6-3, in the second.
Overall, though, Brekken was pleased with how Crookston stacked up in doubles. Its three pairings — including Abby Borowicz and Macy Fee at No. 3, who won 6-2, 6-3 — didn't have a ton of experience playing together. While this led to slow starts up and down the lineup, the Pirates were unfazed.
"Even there at that No. 1 doubles spot ... I liked to see that the second set was closer than the first set," Brekken said. "At least they didn't throw in the towel, and they came out and played well.
"Roseau's a little more competitive in their doubles as well, but we got things rolling."
With Crookston's depth, Brekken anticipates tough, ongoing competition in practice for doubles spots. What this means is that he'll keep trying out new pairings throughout the season, trying to see what works.
Still, last week, Brekken called the Pirates' depth a "good problem to have." And their singles superiority on Tuesday is an indicator of that as well.
"They came out and they took care of business top to bottom," Brekken said. "One awesome thing to see this first week in practice we've got is that all four of those girls can come out and beat any of the other four. It's really fun to see, and it keeps practice really productive."
UP NEXT: Crookston will host East Grand Forks on Friday morning, in the first of three meetings between the Pirates and Green Wave this season.
"By then, I'm just looking for more consistency and some longer rallies and more movement in doubles play," Brekken said. "And then, just improvement throughout the year, not to get satisfied, and always trying to improve our game."
- No. 1 singles: Catherine Tiedemann (Crookston) beat Haylee Bennett (Roseau) 6-0, 6-0
- No. 2 singles: Hayden Winjum (Crookston) beat Maddy Verbout (Roseau) 6-1, 6-0
- No. 3 singles: Halle Winjum (Crookston) beat Ella Trangsrud (Roseau) 6-1, 6-0
- No. 4 singles: Emma Osborn (Crookston) beat Savannah Byfuglien (Roseau) 6-0, 6-0
- No. 1 doubles: Kiersten Flaig and Lindsay McFarlane (Roseau) beat Emma Gunderson and Hannah Lindemoen (Crookston) 6-0, 6-3
- No. 2 doubles: Halle Bruggeman and Brekken Tull (Crookston) beat Julia Braaten and Masynn Janicke (Roseau) 7-6, 6-1
- No. 3 doubles: Abby Borowicz and Macy Fee (Crookston) beat Jessie Danielson and Erin Brandt (Roseau) 6-2, 6-3
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