MARQUETTE - The Negaunee High School girls tennis team put five flights into the championship round Wednesday at the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 1 Finals.
Negaunee won three of them, but it was just enough.
The Miners of head coach Kyle Saari tied Kingsford for a share of the U.P. title, each compiling 14 points in action largely held at Marquette's Shiras Courts. Escanaba placed third with 11 points.
Negaunee’s Allison Carlson returns a shot against Hannah Tresedder during the No. 2 singles final at the MHSAA U.P. Division 1 Finals in Marquette on Wednesday. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
"(Kingsford) beat us 6-2 in a dual earlier and our girls were hungry," said Saari. "It has been a goal for them the last couple of years.
"Kingsford was the favorite coming in. We knew for us to have a shot (at the crown), we had to have something happen that didn't during the season."
He said his No. 3 (Kylee Taavola and Jordyn LaFreniere) and No. 4 (Sarah Paquette and Kassy Harsila) doubles units sparked the Miners' title tie.
"No. 4 did a tremendous job just getting to the finals (before losing). We didn't expect that. And No. 3 wound up getting a U.P. title.
"Those two flights really got us in the position to tie."
So did Allison Carlson at No. 2 singles and Kayla Hakala at No. 3. Both ended the season with a U.P. championship.
"I was hoping to get (a title) in my high school career," said Carlson, a sophomore. "I was pretty consistent overall. I hit a variety of shots well.
"My ground strokes and my serves were good in the last match."
Saari said Carlson "put together a complete day" at the finals.
"This was probably the most positive Allison has ever been in her brief tennis career," he said. "She has become more mentally strong this season."
For the Miners to gain a title tie, Escanaba had to beat Kingsford opponents in the final two matches of the day, at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles.
The Eskymos did just that.
Codi Jenshak won her second straight U.P. championship at No. 1 singles, while Escanaba teammates Braedyn Bosilovatz and Cathryn Wood won at No. 1 doubles.
"It's surreal, everything I've wished for," Jenshak said after a 6-1, 6-2 win over Kingsford's Sam Fleming. "It's also bittersweet, as this was my last high school match. But I'm glad I could end it like this.
"I just tried to keep the ball in the court, run and get as many shots as I could."
Bosilovatz and Wood defeated the Flivvers' Anna Shanks and Kate Lamy, 6-3, 6-3.
"It's the first time we've beaten (Shanks and Lamy) in two sets," Wood said. "It has always been in three before. But our volleys at the net were good, and we were good at focusing and hitting the corners."
Added Bosilovatz: "It's always slow starting off with a bye. We waited and waited, as there was a three-setter before us.
"We were anxious to see who we would be playing (first), but we didn't let it slow us down."
Escanaba head coach Denny Lueneburg noted his No. 1 doubles unit lost its first match of the season, then went undefeated the rest of the way.
"Braedyn won last year with a different partner," he said. "I don't remember in our tennis history that we've had a repeat champion at No. 1 doubles."
For Kingsford head coach Mark Shanks and his Flivvers, it was a missed opportunity to come home an undisputed champion.
"Negaunee had a really good day. They were better than they had been against us all year," he said. "We had a mediocre day.
"My top-seeded No. 4 doubles taking a zero was the biggest factor for us. To have the No. 1 seed, get the bye and then not win your first round, it stings some."
The Flivvers still came out with champions at No. 4 singles (Santina Bianco) and No. 2 doubles (Janay Walters and Ali VanRemortel) after putting six flights into the finals.
Marquette saw two of its lone flights in the finals both lose, at No. 2 and 3 doubles.
"I'm proud of the way my No. 2 doubles (Laura Slavsky and Madalyne Connon) played," head coach Derek Sandstrom said. "To place second is a good accomplishment.
"As a team, we left a point on the court in a few spots. But all in all, we played well, though I would have liked to have done better."
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.