No. 1 doubles tested as Negaunee continues tennis dominance

Marquette No. 3 singles player Maya Griffin hits a return during a high school girls tennis meet at Negaunee on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (Photo courtesy MSHS tennis)

By Journal Sports Staff

NEGAUNEE — A Marquette girls tennis duo pushed one of the Upper Peninsula’s best to a third set before undefeated Negaunee pulled off an 8-0 sweep of the visiting MSHS team on Monday afternoon.

The Miners’ No. 1 doubles duo of Kallen Schultz and Maddie Frustaglio gutted out a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Marquette’s Payton Pleaugh and Lexi Hammerstrom at the Miners’ courts.

“Kallen and Maddie made an adjustment in the second set and committed themselves to playing smart, consistent tennis,” NHS head coach Kyle Saari said in an email detailing the result. “They realized they might’ve been going for too much and they decided to make their opponent play with longer points. Those are the types of things you need out of experienced players.”

MSHS head coach Karl Thomsen was pleased with his top doubles duo.

“Our No. 1 doubles team, Payton Pleaugh and Lexi Hammerstrom, held their own today against one of the U.P.’s best,” he said in his own email about the meet. “We have talked about elevating their aggressiveness during matches and I think they did a great job executing that today.”

The other seven flights were decided in two sets as Negaunee improved to 13-0-1 with conference meets on tap this morning. The Mid-Peninsula Conference meet is at 10 a.m. in Negaunee, while the Great Northern Conference meet is at the same time in Escanaba.

“It was extremely important to begin this week with a lot of energy and build on our practices from last week,” Saari said. “We’ve had solid leadership from several girls, and that runs off on all parts of the lineup in terms of preparation and how to handle success and adversity.”

The Negaunee coach was pleased with several other players on his team, too, mentioning No. 3 singles player Rheana Nelson, who won 6-2, 6-3 over Marquette’s Maya Griffin, and the No. 4 doubles tandem of Emma Wills and Halle Palomaki, who took a 6-1, 6-1 victory over MSHS’ Eva Sjoholm and Mylee Muscoe.

“Rheana did much of the same at her flight, having to adjust at times by changing shots and eye level,” Saari said, comparing Nelson’s play with Schultz and Frustaglio.

“She did a nice job regaining control when things got close.

“Emma and Halle played their best match of the year so far, too.”

“It’s a fun time of the year when you near the finish line and have to scratch and claw each day to be at your best.”

The closest two-set match came at No. 3 doubles, where the Miners’ Autumn Ring and Paityn Brunette gutted out a 7-5, 6-3 triumph over Marquette’s Aubree Blackburn and Laura Barsch.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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