Pirates' unbeaten start brought to an end by Thief River Falls
Something had to give on Tuesday. It wasn't the defending section champion.
Unbeaten Thief River Falls handled Crookston girls' tennis, 6-1, at CHS on Tuesday afternoon, ending the Pirates' own undefeated start to the season at five wins.
The Prowlers, who made it to state out of Section 8A last season — eliminating Crookston along the way — lost five seniors from that team, but in the words of Crookston coach Cody Brekken, they reload, rather than rebuild. It showed Tuesday.
"TRF is a very disciplined team that has two strong, consistent players at the top of the singles lineup and plays very smart and active doubles top to bottom," Brekken said.
That doesn't mean he thinks they're invincible.
In fact, Brekken thought the Pirates could have stood to be more "proactive, rather than reactive," and could have been more "involved" in the doubles portion of the match. To him, this showed just as much as Thief River Falls' talent.
"It's important to move around the court throughout the point and challenge your opponent every shot," Brekken said. "If you allow a good opponent to take any shot they like, they will usually thrive."
That's what the Prowlers did from No. 1 singles on down. Emma Fagerstrom and Brooklyn Broadwell defeated Catherine Tiedemann (Sr.) and Hayden Winjum (Jr.) in straight sets at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively — Winjum's loss being her first of the season.
Halle Winjum (Fr.), who Brekken called Crookston's most consistent player so far this season, stemmed the tide at No. 3 singles, beating Bell Hamre while dropping only one game. But it was all business everywhere else for Thief River Falls. No. 4 singles was closer, but Avery Skaar defeated Brekken Tull (Fr.) 6-4, 6-4.
Emma Osborn (Jr.) and Halle Bruggeman (So.) fell at No. 1 doubles, 6-2, 6-4. At No. 2 doubles, Emma Gunderson (Fr.) and Hannah Lindemoen (Jr.) came out strong to take the first set 7-6, but Hannah Cleven and Gabby Steele ended up charging back to take the second set and the tiebreaker.
The Prowlers rounded out the match with a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 3 doubles over Abby Borowicz (So.) and Macy Fee (So.).
In the long run, Tuesday's setback might not change much for Crookston. Brekken still believes the Pirates have what it takes to compete with the top of the section.
But with their unblemished record a thing of the past, Brekken can focus a little bit more on the few mistakes that tripped them up on Tuesday — and what it might take to make a statement next time against Thief River Falls.
"They are a beatable team, but we'll have to bring our A-game and shore up a few things in our play," he said. " ... The girls played tough, but I think we can be more aggressive and have a much better start. I'd like to see a little more enthusiasm out on the court rather than nervous energy."
UP NEXT: Crookston is back at home Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. to take on East Grand Forks for a third time this season. The Pirates won the first two meetings with the Green Wave, both in East Grand Forks, on Aug. 28 and Sept. 10.
- No. 1 singles: Emma Fagerstrom (TRF) def. Catherine Tiedemann, 6-1, 6-3
- No. 2 singles: Brooklyn Broadwell (TRF) def. Hayden Winjum 6-0, 6-1
- No. 3 singles: Halle Winjum (Crookston) def. Bell Hamre 6-1, 6-0
- No. 4 singles: Avery Skaar (TRF) def. Brekken Tull 6-4, 6-4
- No. 1 doubles: Abby Flaagan and Brooklyn Brouse (TRF) def. Emma Osborn and Halle Bruggeman 6-2, 6-4
- No. 2 doubles: Hannah Cleven and Gabby Steele (TRF) def. Emma Gunderson and Hannah Lindemoen 6-7, 6-0 (10-8)
- No. 3 doubles: Avery Malone and Trista Spears (TRF) def. Abby Borowicz and Macy Fee 6-2, 6-1
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