Crookston advances past Parkers Prairie in Section 8A Tournament
For all of the Crookston girls' tennis team's dominance this season, it had yet to win a match by taking all seven points.
The top-seeded Pirates swept No. 8 seed Parkers Prairie, 7-0, in the first round of the Section 8A Tournament at Crookston High School.
Crookston won 10 out of 11 duals in the regular season, only falling once — on Sept. 15 to defending section champion Thief River Falls. Monday, though, was the first time that the Pirates would be playing win-or-go-home tennis.
"You really just talk being grateful that we're out here still playing," said coach Cody Brekken. "You remind them that this is it, leave it all out there. ... You can feel it. They know it, they've been practicing hard and are aware of it."
That was evident in Crookston's performances from top to bottom. See: junior Hannah Lindemoen, who fell at No. 4 singles Saturday at Roseau but was the first Pirate off the court Monday, making quick work of her opponent by not losing a single game.
Freshman Halle Winjum finished shortly afterwards with a straight-set win at No. 2 singles, as did Brekken Tull (Fr.) at No. 3. Catherine Tiedemann (Sr.) and Abby Borowicz (So.) won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 doubles, Emma Gunderson (Fr.) and Emma Osborn (Jr.) won 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles, and sophomores Halle Bruggeman and Macy Fee won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3 doubles.
"Parkers Prairie, they've improved over the last couple years," Brekken said. "They've got a couple good girls at the top, but we've got the depth right now and showed it today."
Hayden Winjum, playing in the No. 1 singles spot, was the last Pirate still playing, just as she was in last Tuesday's win at Thief River Falls. Circumstances were different Monday, though — the match was long since decided, but the Panthers' Ana Marquardt posed a stiff challenge.
Winjum didn't play her strongest tennis in the first set, in Brekken's view, but won a first-set tiebreaker before winning the second set 6-1.
"(Marquardt)'s probably on a different level than the rest of their team," Brekken said. "(Winjum) figured it out quickly, hung in there and won."
Overall, the biggest challenge for Crookston seemed to be not Parkers Prairie, but what lies ahead. The Pirates will host the semifinal round (against either Perham/New York Mills or Park Rapids) Thursday, and should they win, would host next Tuesday's championship match — which seems likely to come against Thief River Falls.
The challenge for Brekken is ensuring his team doesn't look too far into the future
"I just remind them every day, I give reminders of years past and other matches," he said, citing Roseau — the No. 7 seed in the section — beating No. 3 seed East Grand Forks the Thursday before the playoffs began. "Lineups are one thing and a team is another thing, but individually, you all have to go out there, keep your head on straight and really try to play your best tennis. Otherwise, anything goes."
On Monday, though, Crookston wasn't about to be caught napping.
"They came out and played straight and respected Parkers Prairie," Brekken said, "and made quick work of it."
UP NEXT: The Pirates will await the winner of the quarterfinal match between No. 4 seed Perham/New York Mills and No. 5 Park Rapids. The Yellowjackets and Panthers play Tuesday in Perham. The semifinal is slated for Thursday in Crookston.
"I'd say Perham is the more athletic bunch. They're more even across the board and can surprise in how they play," Brekken said. "Park Rapids is maybe not as deep as we are, but their top three singles spots are tough opponents. Either one, we'll prepare how it comes."
- No. 1 singles: Hayden Winjum (Crookston) def. Ana Marquardt 7-6 (7-5), 6-1
- No. 2 singles: Halle Winjum (Crookston) def. Aili Toyli 6-0, 6-1
- No. 3 singles: Brekken Tull (Crookston) def. Dakota Moske 6-2, 6-1
- No. 4 singles: Hannah Lindemoen (Crookston) def. Elektra Blumer 6-0, 6-0
- No. 1 doubles: Abby Borowicz and Catherine Tiedemann (Crookston) def. Hannah Samuelson and Joey McKeown 6-0, 6-0
- No. 2 doubles: Emma Gunderson and Emma Osborn (Crookston) def. Abbie Ruckheim and Audrey Ruckheim 6-2, 6-0
- No. 3 doubles: Halle Bruggeman and Macy Fee (Crookston) def. Ashley Vogt and Liz Vogt 6-1, 6-1
- Exhibition: Addie Fee and Isabelle Smith (Crookston) def. Harleigh Drum and Madison Rud 6-0, 6-0
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