FAIRMONT - First-year Fairmont girls tennis coach Kathy Krezel is always looking for ways for her Cardinal netters to get better.
Krezel made a slight shift in the doubles lineup on Tuesday, and Fairmont pocketed two key points in the bracket to help pace a 5-2 non-league triumph over the River Valley Wildcats at the Cardinal Courts in Fairmont.
"We made some switches in doubles today, but we're not quite where we need to be yet," said Krezel, who team improved to a 3-1 overall start to the fall campaign.
OVERHEAD — Fairmont’s Missy Viesselman connects on an overhead return during tennis action Tuesday at Cardinal Courts in Fairmont. Photo by Charlie Sorrells
The newly-formed No. 3 doubles tandem of Shantel Quist and Marina Rufli clicked on all cylinders to produce the Cardinals' initial team point of the dual competition.
Quist and Rufli coasted to a 6-3 first-set victory over the Wildcats' Alex Chaney and Alyssa Rubey before clinching the match with a 6-1 second-set decision.
Missy Viesselman, who outslugged River Valley opponent Lauren Laffen - 6-4 - in the opening segment of their No. 3 singles match, stormed to an early 3-0 edge in their second set.
The hard-hitting Viesselman then shifted into high gear to reel off wins in three of the next four games to pocket the point via a 6-1 second-set triumph.
Fairmont's newly-combined No. 2 doubles team of Briana Gratz and Andrea Carstensen dropped its first game of the opening set before hammering out four straight wins over Erika Reis and Marlayna Evers.
Gratz and Carstensen then posted back-to-back wins to clinch the 6-2 first-set decision.
Trailing 3-2 in the second set, Gratz and Carstensen broke back and held serve to outlast Reis and Evers in the second set, 7-5, to give Fairmont a 3-0 lead in the dual meet.
River Valley's first doubles team of Emily Johnson and Kalyn Haas then fended off Sophie Shelgren and Abby Fitzgerald's second-set comeback, 7-5, to prevent a Cardinals' sweep. Johnson and Haas won the opening set, 6-1.
Aubrey Green, however, sealed Fairmont's team triumph by downing Kallie Smith, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1, during first singles action. Green rallied from an early 3-2 first-set deficit before winning the tiebreaker via a decisive 7-1 score.
Becky Roiger, who played No. 1 singles a year ago, then outlasted the Cardinals' Allison Moeller in a second singles battle filled with lengthy rallies, 7-5, 6-3.
Fairmont's Jill Paris then wrapped up the dual meet by capturing the only three-set match, outpointing Natalie Stevens, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, at the No. 4 spot in the singles bracket.
Fairmont (3-1) opens South Central Conference action by traveling to St. James on Thursday for a 4:30 p.m. dual meet with the Saints.
River Valley (3-2) plays host to Luverne on Thursday in Sleepy Eye.
Fairmont 5, River Valley 2
Singles: Aubrey Green (F) d. Kallie Smith, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1. Becky Roiger (RV) d. Allison Moeller, 7-5, 6-3. Missy Viesselman (F) d. Lauren Laffen, 6-4, 6-1. Jill Paris (F) d. Natalie Stevens, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
Doubles: Emily Johnson-Kalyn Haas (RV) d. Abby Fitzgerald-Sophie Shelgren, 6-1, 7-5. Briana Gratz-Andrea Carstensen (F) d. Erika Reis-Marlayna Evers, 6-2, 7-5. Shantel Quist-Marina Rufli (F) d. Alex Chaney-Alyssa Rubey, 6-3, 6-1.