Singles carry Redettes to GNC tennis title

Munising’s Marissa Ackerman serves to Marquette’s Hannah Swajanen Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, during their No. 1 singles semifinal match at the Great Northern Conference girls tennis meet in Escanaba. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Avery Bundgaard)

ESCANABA — Singles players carried the day for Marquette Senior High School as the Redettes won the Great Northern Conference girls tennis meet held at Escanaba on Wednesday.

“The girls played well and I’m really proud of them,” Marquette coach Derek Sandstrom said of his team’s 30-point total. “In singles, we had a couple girls really play well. In doubles, we have a lot of work to do yet.

“We did get a winner at No. 4 doubles and I thought they played great for a team that was just put together.”

West Iron County was runner-up with 25 points, followed by Menominee with 23, Munising 17, Escanaba 14 and Kingsford 11. The Mustangs and WIC join the GNC in tennis as Munising is the only Skyline Central Conference school, and the Wykons the only West PAC school, to field a team in tennis.

“I think the conference meet went smoothly,” Esky coach Denny Lueneburg said. “We did it the first time last year and I was a little nervous because we were a little spread out.

“We have an idea of how long the matches are going to go and how to plan it and I thought it went smoothly.”

Matches were played at Escanaba High School, Ludington Park in Escanaba and Gladstone’s courts.

In No. 1 singles, Munising’s Marissa Ackerman defeated Esky’s Taylor Gauthier 6-2, 6-3 in the finals.

“I saw some things in Taylor that I haven’t seen in a couple of years,” Lueneburg said. “She started to think out there a little bit differently and started trying to analyze things. That’s the direction she needs to take if she’s going to get better.”

The Redettes took home the No. 2 singles title as Elysa Olivier downed Munising’s Kelsea Ackerman 6-0, 6-1. Marquette also won at No. 4 with Molly Kilpela’s 6-1, 6-2 win over WIC’s Anna Malmquist.

“Molly won the No. 4 singles title and has been playing singles for just a couple weeks here as she just started playing tennis this year,” Sandstrom said. “I was impressed with her effort today. I thought all of our singles played well today, especially Elysa as she was dominant at No. 2 singles. I don’t think she got pushed at all today.”

WIC’s Izzy Hoogenboom beat Marquette’s Lexi Anderson 6-2, 6-2 to wrap up singles play at No. 3.

The Maroons took the top spot in No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. At No. 1, Menominee’s Ellie Wellner and Kendell Kaltt defeated WIC’s Natalie Tomasoski and Eden Golliher 6-0, 6-1, while the Maroons’ Allie Node and Olivia Badker held off Esky’s Claire McInerney and Alison Sommers 6-1, 6-7, 6-1 for No. 2.

“My No. 1 doubles hit the ball amazing today,” Menominee coach Nikki Matthew said. “They played great together and communicated well. They had the right angles and they wanted it so bad today.

“My No. 2 doubles are just funny to me. They started off with a bye and they cruised through their second game and won the title game in three sets. It’s just one of those things where they finally got it together and in the third set they just calmed down.”

Kingsford’s Sara Premo and Grace Lorenzoni beat Marquette’s Emma Melchiori and Natalie Robinia to take the No. 3 doubles, while Marquette’s Campbell Kallio and Sydney Kivi defeated Kingsford’s Cassie Barglind and Haley Bubloni for No. 4.

“Our No. 3 doubles took second place and I think they played well,” Sandstrom said. “I think they’re still hungry. They think they can play better than they did.”

The Redettes travel to Westwood Monday while Escanaba heads to Iron Mountain Monday.

The MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 2 finals are set for 9 a.m. Wednesday at Westwood and will include Munising and WIC from the GNC along with the host Patriots, Ishpeming and Gwinn from Marquette County.

The D1 finals are set for 10 a.m. EDT next Thursday at Kingsford. These finals include Marquette, Escanaba, Gladstone, Kingsford and Menominee out of the GNC along with Negaunee.


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