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True preview of fall: Windy, cool weather greets Marquette Redettes in 5-3 girls tennis win over Westwood Patriots

Marquette junior Haddie Ketzenberger hits a return in the No. 4 singles match against Westwood at the Marquette Senior High School tennis courts on Wednesday morning. (Journal photo by Ryan Spitza)

“The girls were tested mentally and they grew up a little today.” — Derek Sandstrom,

head coach, Marquette girls tennis

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MARQUETTE — The Marquette vs. Westwood high school girls tennis match pitted a pair of undefeated teams — at least before match started.

With both the teams starting the season 3-0 in dual meets, something had to give.

Westwood senior Tessa Leece awaits a return shot in the No. 2 singles match versus Marquette at the Marquette Senior High School tennis courts on Wednesday morning. (Journal photo by Ryan Spitza)

It was Marquette prevailing under windy conditions and 50-some-degree temperatures, topping Westwood 5-3 at the MSHS courts.

The Redettes claimed three of four singles flights while splitting doubles with its intracounty opponent to improve to 4-0.

MSHS head coach Derek Sandstrom said his team faced a strong challenge by the Patriots, which helped the Redettes gain some early-season growth.

“It was a tough day with the weather,” he said. “The last two matches came down to tiebreakers. The girls were tested mentally and they grew up a little today.”

Those tiebreakers came at Nos. 2 and 3 singles. At No. 2, Marquette’s Mollie Kilpela defeated Tessa Leece 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 10-7 in the lengthiest match of the day. Kilpela and Leece battled for 2 1/2 hours after the meet started.

No. 3 saw Marquette’s Campbell Kallio top Jillian Koski in another lengthy tiebreaker, ending 6-3, 4-6, 10-7.

The Redettes’ third singles win was at No. 1, featuring Elysa Olivier defeating Madi Koski 6-2, 6-2.

The Redettes’ doubles victories came at Nos. 3 and 4, with Ruth Hummell and Zoey Brian defeating Westwood’s Claire Gilles and Emily Nelson 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3, while Alyson LaBelle and Julianna Golisek got past Avery Mariuzza and Allison Korpi at No. 4.

Sandstrom credited those MSHS players on their performances so far this season.

“Our No. 3 and No. 4 doubles played really well,” he said. “Then of course Mollie and Campbell pulling out those tiebreakers, that was great. Elysa continues to just dominate at No. 1 singles as well.”

Westwood head coach Sarah Massie said the strong winds throughout brought the wind chill factor into play. Despite that, she credited her team for playing several close matches, despite some mixing and matching in doubles.

“It was tough conditions for both sides,” she said. “Both teams struggled with the wind and we had some close matches, which I think is good, especially at the start of the season. We played alright, we’re definitely getting better in some spots and it’s good to be challenged.

“My No. 1 doubles team seems like they’ve been figuring it out and played awesome. We’re still trying to figure out some parts in our bottom of the lineup, so we’ve been making several changes there.

“A lot of those girls aren’t used to playing with each other. Overall, all four of our singles players, whether they won or lost, played hard, they keep working on stuff and are getting better.”

The Patriots’ lone singles victory came at No. 4 with Jenna Wealton defeating Haddie Ketzenberger 6-3, 6-3.

Westwood claimed the top two doubles flights, with Karlie Patron and Katelyn Anttila defeating Ryleigh Jackson and Kennedy Tate 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1, while Ellie Miller and Meghan Johnson topped Sydney McCarthy and Breanne Sandstrom 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2.

Both teams are taking part in a triple dual to be played at Westwood with Negaunee involved to take the place of today’s originally scheduled Westwood Invitational.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.