Blake gets the best of Lourdes in girls tennis state final


Oct. 25—MINNEAPOLIS — Rochester Lourdes was gunning for its second straight girls tennis state championship and its 15th overall Wednesday at Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center.

Blake was not about to let that happen.

The Bears lived up to what Eagles coach Ben Maes thought they were as the teams met for the Class 1A championship. Blake, with a dominating singles lineup, dropped No. 1-seeded Lourdes 5-2.

It was those singles matches that set the tone. A couple of them got done in a hurry, Blake winning 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles and 6-1, 6-1 at No. 4 singles.

That left the Eagles ruffled.

“Blake started off really well and we got a little bit overwhelmed from that,” Maes said. “When you look at their entire lineup, they were more experienced than we were. They’ve got a lot of kids who play year round, whereas on my team, we have just one or two of those.”

Lourdes’ two wins came at No. 3 singles from Erin Witter ( 6-3, 3-6,10-6) and from the No. 2 doubles team of Taylor Seelhammer and Ellie Leise (1-6, 6-4, 11-9).

The Eagles had gotten to the state final with a 5-2 win over St. James in Wednesday morning’s semifinals.

For Lourdes, this marks the end of an era, with six of its players seniors and having finished long, distinguished careers. Caroline Daly, Elyse Palen, Witter, Taylor Elliott, Katherine Sieve and Ellie Leise will all be graduating in the spring.

It made for a teary final of playing for this team.

“I think we all played our best tennis, so we just have to accept that we lost to a good team today,” Witter said. “But when it was finished, iti was really sad. I’m definitely going to miss this, especially going to state and hanging out with everyone and bonding with each other.”

Daly, who played No. 1 singles for the Eagles and watched her game steadily rise through the years, said it’s been an incredible run being a part of this program..

“Being done now, it’s bittersweet,” she said. “It is sad but I am also really content with how the whole season went and just my tennis career overall. Every year was so much fun and every year was different, with a different team. They were all special in their own way.”

Maes liked how his team competed and has appreciated its approach all season. Now, he is hoping that these seniors have set the tone for future Eagles teams. Two trips in as many years to the state championship round doesn’t just happen.

He wants his younger players to be mindful of that.

CHAMPIONSHIP

Blake 5, Lourdes 2

Singles: Nana Vang (B) def. Caroline Daly 6-0, 6-0; Fatemeh Vang (B) def. Elyse Palen 6-3, 6-2; Erin Witter (L) def. Gabby Geer 6-3, 3-6,10-6; Sienna Szerda (B) def. Taylor Elliott 6-1, 6-1. Doubles: Amelia Bush/Daphne Dresner (B) def. Molly Suino/Katherine Sieve 6-2, 6-4; Taylor Seelhammer/Ellie Leise (L) def. Sophie Herron/Svara Arimilli 1-6, 6-4, 11-9; Camila Pardo/Michelle Pham (B) def. Kaydra Quimby/Ashley Wagester 6-4, 5-7, 10-5.

SEMIFINALS

Lourdes 5, St. James 2

Singles: Caroline Daly (L) def. Keyana Haler 6-1, 6-0; Elyse Palen (L) def. Elizabeth Shores 6-0, 6-0; Erin Witter (L) def. Maya Kulseth 6-1, 6-1; Taylor Elliott (L) def. Lily Ciske 6-1, 6-0. Doubles: Allison Bluedorn/Alexis Brekken (SJ) def. Molly Suino/Katherine Sieve 6-2, 6-4; Taylor Seelhammer/Ellie Leise (L) def. Dani Trapero/Mykela Hanson 6-2, 6-3; Alivia Romsdahl/Ellie Anderson (SJ) def. Kaydra Quimby/Ashley Wagester 6-3, 6-1.



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