SHERBURN - The No. 8-seeded Martin County West Mavericks' girls tennis team swept the doubles to pace a 6-1 Section 3A preliminary-round victory over the No. 9-seeded Pipestone Area Arrows on Monday in Sherburn.
Martin County West (5-9) advances to face the Class A, No. 4-ranked and No. 1-seeded St. James Saints in a 4 p.m. sectional quarterfinal meet on Thursday in St. James.
Logan Weber came off of Court 1 with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Nicole Scotting at third singles to give the Mavericks a 1-0 lead in the meet.
FOREHAND RETURN — Martin County West third singles player Logan Weber prepares to hit a forehand return during a Section 3A play-in tennis meet on Monday in Sherburn. Photo by Leanna Becker
"Our singles players usually play well, and at times, they don't always get the win. Today it's nice to see them have success after playing so well," said Martin County West head coach Ross Bettin.
Pipestone Area's Natalie Scotting, however, tied things up with a 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) win over Megan Suter at fourth singles.
The Mavericks' KaLeigh Russenberger and Jennifer Hagen, the Valley Conference champions at No. 2 doubles, sailed through a 6-2 first-set win before the Arrows' Tessa Lucek and Ashley Griebel fought back in the second set.
The Mavericks' duo, however, took back the lead and closed out the match with 7-5 second-set win for a 2-1 edge in the team competition.
Martin County West's Ily Schlenk and Alissa Russenberger frustrated Pipestone's Abby Steffan and Sarah Woelber in a 7-5, 6-1 third-doubles win.
With the Mavericks up 3-1, the first and second singles matches, along with the first doubles match, were sent out to determine which team would advance.
"I thought today we did a good job of focusing in and knowing where we are in the match and in the meet," said Bettin. "And this week being homecoming week, I thought we did a great job of staying focused in all aspects and finishing well."
Martin County West's Tori Russenberger handled the pressure and easily defeated the Arrows' Taylor Carson at second singles.
After watching her teammates capture three of the first four matches, Tori Russenberger handed Carson a 6-1, 6-0 loss to secure the team win.
Shawna Dressen and Emily Lawerence fought off a late surge by the Arrows' Laura Rudie and Tiffany Woelber in the second set to take the first doubles win 6-4, 6-3.
Dressen and Lawerence battled through the first set, returning crushing overheads and forcing the Arrows to make mistakes.
Rudie and Woelber used their strong volleys to get back in the match in the second set, but the Mavericks shut the door as Lawerence held serve for the win.
"Sweeping the doubles matches for us was great. I know our first doubles team was really up for their match, but that was a bit of a surprise for us because Pipestone's team is so strong," said Bettin. "Those girls played well and really beat a good doubles team."
That left the first singles match between the Mavericks' Kelci Russenberger and the Arrows' Veronica Johnson on the court.
Kelci Russenberger trailed 5-4 in the first set, but a few smooth forehands into the corner and a strong service game swung the lead in her favor at 6-5.
The Maverick all-Valley Conferene honorable mention netter then proceeded to win the next game, clinching the 7-5 opening-set win.
Johnson trailed 3-2 in the second set, but held her serve and snuck a backhand past Kelci Russenberger to take a 4-3 lead.
Martin County West's No. 1 singles player rallied to win three of the next four games to take back the lead at 6-5. Kelci Russenberger clinched the win and finished out the meet by winning the final game, 7-5.
MCW 6, Pipestone Area 1
Singles: Kelci Russenberger (MCW) d. Veronica Johnson, 7-5, 7-5. Tori Russenberger (MCW) d. Taylor Carson, 6-1, 6-0. Logan Weber (MCW) d. Nicole Scotting, 6-0, 6-3. Natalie Scotting (P) d. Megan Suter, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3).
Doubles: Shawna Dressen-Emily Lawrence (MCW) d. Laura Rudie-Tiffany Woelber, 6-4, 6-3. KaLeigh Russenberger-Jennifer Hagen (MCW) d. Tessa Lueck-Ashley Griebel, 6-2, 7-5. Ily Schlenk-Alissa Russenberger (MCW) d. Abby Steffan-Sarah Woelber, 7-5, 6-1.