Bad party hosts mean excellent victories for local high school boys tennis teams

MARQUETTE — Marquette County boys tennis teams probably put out paper plates, plastic cups and generic-brand food when they host parties.

That seems apparent considering how bad of hosts they were for southern Upper Peninsula teams on Thursday, with Westwood, Marquette and Negaunee all polishing off victories against their invited guests.

Westwood had the closest call, defeating Escanaba 5-3, while Marquette downed Kingsford and Negaunee bounced Esky by identical 8-0 whitewashes.

Negaunee will attend the Kingsford Invitational this morning, while all three local squads will be busy next week, beginning with matches on Monday. That’s when the Miners host the Patriots as Marquette travels to Escanaba, each match scheduled for 4 p.m.

All three teams have several more matches later in the week before they converge on Negaunee next Saturday morning for the Negaunee Invitational.

Here are details from each of their Thursday matches:


Westwood 5, Escanaba 3

Doubles carried the day for the Pats as they won three of those flights along with two in singles.

Westwood’s toughest win came at No. 2 doubles, where Mitchell Ford and Jayce Patron came back for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over the Eskymos’ David Romps and Alex Morgan.

“I was happy with how we played today,” Patriots head coach Sarah Massie said in an email detailing the result. “Win or lose, every flight had to battle at some point in the match.

“We tied 4-4 the first time we played Escanaba with four of our matches going into three sets.

“We had a handful of three-set matches today as well, so we have a lot of flights that are very close to each other. These competitive matches are great to see and help us prepare for end-of-season play.”

Massie was also pleased with No. 1 singles player Andrew Niemi earning a 6-4, 6-3 win over Esky’s Connor Howes.

“Andrew Niemi played a great match at No. 1 singles,” she said. “He’s starting to find his groove this season and I was happy to see him compete the way he did.”

Also winning for Westwood was No. 4 singles player Jaxson Alderton, the No. 3 doubles tandem of Damian Grondz and Xavier Grondz and the No. 4 doubles pair of Daevon Timmons and Caden Balzarini.


Marquette 8, Kingsford 0

Despite the lopsided final score, the Sentinels were tested at several flights at the top of doubles.

Marquette’s No. 1 duo of Lucas Belkowski and Billy Krebs came back for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over the Flivvers’ Isaac Lebouf and Jacob Crockford, while the Sentinels’ No. 2 tandem of Abe Kentala and Connor Stade pulled off their own comeback, knocking off Hunter Hulkonen and Fletcher Hulkonen 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

“It was nice for our guys to get a chance to have a home meet,” MSHS head coach Karl Thomsen said in his email detailing the result. “It is only the second one of the year.

“Quite honestly, I think some of our guys had nerves playing in front of a home crowd.

“With that being said, I am super proud of how our Nos. 1 and 2 doubles teams shook off shaky starts.

“The difference came when both (pairs) decided to get more aggressive at the net during the second and third sets. It was fun to watch.”

Marquette quite literally blew through singles, not losing a set and dropping only 19 games in the four matches.

“Our singles players, led by Matt Barsch at No. 1 singles, had a nice day,” Thomsen said. “I told the singles guys that when us coaches don’t need to chat with them during the match that means they are doing their job well.”

Other singles winners for MSHS were Chase Thomsen at No. 2, Caden Laurn at No. 3 and Elan Chu at No. 4.

The straight-sets doubles winners for the Sentinels were Grady Schumann and Brady Janofski at No. 3 and Bode Helman and Conner Henry at No. 4.


Negaunee 8, Escanaba 0

The Miners survived a couple scares in doubles after literally demolishing Escanaba in singles — Negaunee lost just three games in four flights there.

“This might’ve been our best all-around meet so far this year,” Miners head coach Kyle Saari said in his email detailing the result. “Prior to (Thursday), the main focus was establishing the tone with our energy, which is important the second time you play a team.

“Every court started real strong, and when our Nos. 2 and 3 doubles hit a lull, they rallied and stayed even keel.”

At No. 2 doubles, Negaunee’s Blake Holmgren and Carson Lajimodiere held off Esky’s David Romps and Alex Morgan 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, while at No. 3 doubles, the Miners’ Easton Guenette and Nolan O’Dovero came back for a 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-2 victory over the Eskymos’ Adam Prey and Cayden Fulsher.

“Easton and Nolan were far more patient in their third set, and they put more pressure on at the net, which paid off,” Saari said. “Both finished a lot of balls late in the match.”

The Negaunee coach was also pleased with No. 2 singles player Mick Kumpula after he lost against Marquette on Wednesday.

“Mick rebounded from (Wednesday) and really did a nice job (Thursday),” Saari said as Kumpula downed Esky’s Jackson Cousineau 6-1, 6-0.

The Miners’ other victories were posted in singles by No. 1 Gavin Saunders, No. 3 Tyler Lajimodiere and No. 4 Ethan Harris, and in doubles by No. 1 James Thomson and Brady Johnson and No. 4 Kolten Store and Quinn Walters.

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


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today