FAIRMONT - First-year Fairmont tennis mentor Kathy Krezel shuffled the Cards' lineup once again Monday and dealt the visiting St. Peter Saints a 4-3 loss.
Trailing 3-2 in the team portion of the South Central Conference dual meet, the Cardinals needed to win the final two matches that were heading into third sets at the Cardinal Courts in Fairmont.
Andrea Carstensen and Jill Paris delivered the tying team tally by rallying from a 5-4 third-set deficit as Carstensen's precisely-placed drop-shot service return knotted the decisive segment after 10 games.
PREPARATION — Fairmont’s Marina Rufli prepares to hit a backhand return during conference tennis action Monday at the Cardinal Courts. Photo by Charlie Sorrells
Paris' solid serving inched Fairmont's third doubles tandem to a 6-5 lead before both Carstensen and Paris nailed winners to close out the third set, 7-5.
Carstensen and Paris claimed their opening set with Mallory Malecek and Kate Sandquist by a 7-5 decision before the St. Peter tandem bounced back to win the second set, 6-1, to force one of three three-set matches on the day.
Fairmont's Camilla Hermanrud, who moved from No. 4 singles to the No. 2 spot in the bracket, then displayed her mettle by battling back from a 6-4 first-set loss to Rachel Huber.
Hermanrud fought her way back from a 5-4 second-set deficit by pounding forehand and backhand winners to register a pivotal service break to grab a 6-5 lead.
The pride of Norway then battled through countless deuces in a marathon 12th game with the smooth-hitting Huber to claim the game and set at 7-5 to force a third set.
Hermanrud broke Huber's serve in Game 1 of the decisive set before netting another key break to build a 4-1 edge. Hermanrud went on to win the third set, 6-2, to swing a 4-3 team triumph to the Cardinals.
"I had no idea that it had been a long time since Fairmont had beaten St. Peter (in girls tennis)," Krezel said in reference to the hometown program ending a decade-plus drought against the Saints. "I just know what the scores were from last year, and I knew that they were a strong team.
"We definitely needed that win to help our place in the conference standings."
Fairmont improved to 8-3 overall and 2-1 in SCC action, with two more league dual meets remaining on its schedule.
"We've got Waseca (today) at home, and then Blue Earth (Area) on Thursday over there," said Krezel. "We'll need to play at this level all this week."
Morgan Schwarz and Maggie Nelson staked St. Peter to an early 1-0 lead by outlasting the newly-formed No. 1 doubles combination of Missy Viesselman and Marina Rufli.
Schwarz and Nelson registered a clutch service break at 5-3 in the first set to claim a 6-3 decision before fending off Viesselman and Rufli by the same score in the second set.
Fairmont's Allison Moeller then countered by posting a straight-set victory over Michaela Meyer at third singles.
Moeller coasted to a 6-1 first-set win before the Cardinal left-hander sealed the team point with a 6-2 second-set triumph.
Abby Fitzgerald and Sophie Shelgren swung a 2-1 team edge to Fairmont by outslugging Karly Maier and Val Bresnahan at No. 2 doubles.
Fitzgerald and Shelgren netted a key break in Game 5 to help engineer a 6-4 opening-set win before fending off Maier and Bresnahan in the second frame, 6-3.
St. Peter's Aliza Doherty knotted the team score at 2-all by defeating Shantel Quist at fourth singles, 6-2, 6-2, before the Saints' Calleigh Carlson claimed the first of the three three-setters at No. 1 singles.
Aubrey Green claimed a 6-3 first-set decision over Carlson before the St. Peter netter countered with a 6-1 second-set win. Carlson then sealed the team tally with another 6-1 victory in the third set.
Fairmont (8-3, 2-1 SCC) plays host to Waseca at 4:30 p.m. today, while St. Peter (6-6, 0-3) travels to St. James today.
Fairmont 4, St. Peter 3
Singles: Calleigh Carlson (SP) d. Aubrey Green, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1. Camilla Hermanrud (F) d. Rachel Huber, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. Allison Moeller (F) d. Michaela Meyer, 6-1, 6-2. Aliza Doherty (SP) d. Shantel Quist, 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles: Morgan Schwarz-Maggie Nelson (SP) d. Missy Viesselman-Marina Rufli, 6-3, 6-4. Abby Fitzgerald-Sophie Shelgren (F) d. Karly Maier-Val Bresnahan, 6-4, 6-3. Andrea Carstensen-Jill Paris (F) d. Mallory Malecek-Kate Sandquist, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5.
Blue Earth Area 6, Tri-City United 1 - The Bucs trampled the Titans 6-1 in a nonconference meet on Monday at Schroeder Courts in Blue Earth.
Karleigh Wolff led the Bucs sweep of the singles bracket with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Breanna Jaycox at the No. 1 spot in the lineup.
Lindsey Prokop continued the singles dominance, winning at the No. 2 spot, 6-2, 6-1, over Kaci Lowe.
Annika Wilhelmi shut out Jessica O'Neal, 6-0, 6-0, at third singles and Kaityln Olsen completed the sweep with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Rosa Ruiz at fourth singles.
Aeli Olson and Paige Darrington won at second doubles 6-2, 6-2 over Payton Shook and Chase Arndt. Beka Krussow and Kali Viland downed Breanna Quist and Emily Holicky 6-0, 6-3 at third doubles to complete the Bucs' team points.
Beth Steinborn and Courtney Hentges defeated Karli Olsen and Natali Fellows at first doubles, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, for the lone Titan point in the match.
Blue Earth Area (7-3, 1-1 SCC) travels to New Ulm for a 4:30 p.m. match today.
BEA 6, TCU 1
Singles: Karleigh Wolff (BEA) d. Breanna Jaycox 6-2, 6-0. Lindsey Prokop (BEA) d. Kari Lowe 6-2, 6-1. Annika Wilhelmi (BEA) d. Jessica O'Neal 6-0, 6-0. Kaitlyn Olsen (BEA) d. Rosa Ruiz 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles: Beth Steinborn-Courtney Hentges (TCU) d. Karli Olsen-Natali Fellows 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Aeli Olson-Paige Darrington (BEA) d. Payton Schook-Chase Arndt 6-2, 6-2. Beka Krussow-Kali Viland (BEA) d. Breanna Quist-Emily Holicky 6-0, 6-3.