Pirates take care of business, beating East Grand Forks, 5-2
EAST GRAND FORKS — Cody Brekken thought his team had plenty of potential this year.
He just didn't expect to see it on display so early.
Crookston girls' tennis won the first five matches, winning every set in the process, on its way to a 5-2 win at East Grand Forks on Friday. The win pushed the Pirates not only to 2-0, but farther along than Brekken, their coach, thought they'd be at this point.
"It's a little different, how consistent we are early in the year so far," Brekken said. "Especially with the time off we've had from COVID, not a lot of these players have played a lot, but I think we're starting the year more consistent than our opponents."
That was apparent to Brekken from the beginning Friday. It showed especially in longer rallies, of which Crookston won a high percentage of. Brekken attributed it to competitiveness and composure not often seen just four days into the season.
"Other teams or some other athletes, you can tell they're out here to have fun and maybe they're not as competitive," he said. "But I'd say most of ours, they really want it and they work hard for it and it shows when it comes crunch time."
While the team score doesn't read close, the Pirates found themselves in crunch time on more than a few occasions Friday.
At No. 2 doubles, Emma Gunderson (Fr.) and Hannah Lindemoen (Jr.) dug themselves out of a first-set hole to force a tiebreaker, which they took 7-3. They came from behind again in the second set, but without the need for the tiebreaker, taking the set 7-5.
"Hannah and Emma came through in the clutch there," Brekken said. "It's a huge win when you're backed into a corner and you prove that you can still come out and not be timid on the ball and still hit your normal strokes."
Gunderson and Lindemoen's win clinched the match for Crookston, but the Pirates were still fighting well after they had left the court. Their No. 1 doubles pairing of Halle Bruggeman (So.) and Emma Osborn (Jr.) bounced back from a 6-2 first set loss to take the second set by the same margin, although Katelyn Farder and Brynn Harris ultimately pulled out the win for East Grand Forks.
Catherine Tiedemann (Sr.), meanwhile, took on the Green Wave's Maggie Dietrich at No. 1 singles in another solid battle. Tiedemann also dropped the first set 7-6, only to come back with a convincing 6-2 second set win. Dietrich won on a tiebreaker, though, as with the team results long decided, neither player wanted to play a full third set.
"East Side, that's their No. 2 and No. 3 singles players they've got playing doubles, so I'd say (Bruggeman and Osborn) played well," Brekken said. "Good battle, lots of back-and-forth. Lot windier than we were used to today, so they had to make those adjustments.
"(Tiedemann) looked pretty good. Maggie's a really good player. She's had opportunities to go to state these last couple years individually."
Brekken could take away the positives the Pirates' losses at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles to end the day, because they ultimately were moot.
Hayden Winjum (Jr.) had no problems at No. 2 singles, winning 6-0, 6-1. Halle Winjum (Fr.) was only slightly less dominant, winning her No. 3 singles match 6-1, 6-2. Brekken Tull, in the No. 4 singles spot after playing doubles against Roseau on Tuesday, put the clamps down in the second set to win 6-4, 6-0. And at No. 3 doubles, cousins Macy Fee (So.) and Addie Fee (8) teamed up to win 6-1, 6-1.
"Hayden took care of business, as well as Halle," Brekken said. "Brekken too. ... Addie and Macy took care of business too. Top to bottom, really impressed with how the girls played."
The season's still young, after all, and Brekken sees plenty to work on. He'd like to see slightly better strategy in doubles play — placing the ball better, making opponents work harder, forcing more errors. And Thief River Falls and Perham still loom large at the top of Section 8A. Both will be tough mountains for the Pirates to climb.
"But so far," Brekken said, "(we've) performed as asked."
UP NEXT: Crookston returns home to take on Park Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 12:00 p.m.
- No. 1 singles: Maggie Dietrich (East Grand Forks) def. Catherine Tiedemann 7-6 (7-0), 2-6, 10-4 (tiebreaker instead of third set)
- No. 2 singles: Hayden Winjum (Crookston) def. Kenady Burris 6-0, 6-1
- No. 3 singles: Halle Winjum (Crookston) def. Thea Haaven-Farstad 6-1, 6-2
- No. 4 singles: Brekken Tull (Crookston) def. Emma Farder 6-4, 6-0
- No. 1 doubles: Katelyn Farder and Brynn Harris (East Grand Forks) def. Halle Bruggeman and Emma Osborn 6-2, 2-6, 6-3
- No. 2 doubles: Emma Gunderson and Hannah Lindemoen (Crookston) def. Kendra Emery and Kendall Rand 7-6 (7-3), 7-5
- No. 3 doubles: Addie Fee and Macy Fee (Crookston) def. Trinity D'Heilly and Ella Eggers 6-1, 6-1
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