NEW ULM - The Fairmont Cardinal boys tennis team rallied from a 3-0 deficit during its season-opening dual meet against the New Ulm Eagles on Friday to win the last four matches to clinch a 4-3 South Central Conference victory.
The Eagles won the No. 1 doubles match and both the No. 2 and No. 3 singles spots to jump out to the three-match lead before the Cardinals clawed back for the victory.
"I think that even though we are a young team, we were still more experienced than they (the Eagles) were today," said Fairmont head coach Eric Johnson. "That won't always be the case for us this season, but today it worked in our favor."
BASELINE BACKHAND — Fairmont third singles player Tyler Head connects on a backhand return from the baseline during season-opening South Central Conference dual-meet tennis action on Friday in New Ulm. The Cardinals went on to defeat the Eagles in the team meet, 4-3. Photo Courtesy of Steve Muscatello/New Ulm Journal
Fairmont sophomore Sterlin Johnson secured the final victory for the Cardinals at the No. 4 singles position, defeating New Ulm's Noah Stocker, 6-3, 6-0, to seal the team triumph.
New Ulm sophomore Calvin Collum Jr. downed Fairmont's J.T. Viesselman, 6-2, 6-1, in the second singles match before Josh Koelpin defeated Tyler Head, 6-1, 6-0, for the Eagles.
Isaiah Johnson and Nic Gartner teamed to defeat the Cardinals' tandem of Andrew Johnson and Ryan Busche, 6-2, 6-1, at No. 1 doubles.
"Today we figured out a few things that we need to work on and a few things that we need to change as the season goes on," said Eric Johnson.
Senior captain Grant Becker grabbed the first Fairmont win, outlasting Eagle junior Alex King, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), in the No. 1 singles spot.
"Grant played well for us. I didn't ever think his match was in doubt, but it was good for him to start out the season that way," said Johnson.
Mitch Anderton and Jake Kallenbach teamed up in the No. 2 doubles spot to outlast Billy Griffith and Sam Frederickson in a three-set match. Anderton and Kallenbach won the first set 6-4 before Griffith and Frederickson came back and won the second 6-2.
Kallenbach and Anderton rallied in the third and deciding set to win 6-3 for the victory.
Carter Klanderud and Austin Becker secured the meet-tying point for Fairmont, winning a pair of shut-out sets over David Struck and Taylor Tamborino, 6-0 6-0.
"For the first meet of the season, it was a good meet. We figured out some things for our team and were still able to win," said Eric Johnson.
Fairmont (1-0, 1-0 SCC) plays host to Holy Family Catholic in a nonconference dual meet at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Cardinal Courts.
Fairmont 4, New Ulm 3
Singles: Grant Becker (F) def. Alex King, 6-4 7-6 (7-2). Calvin Collum Jr. (NU) def. J.T. Viesselman, 6-2, 6-1. Josh Koelpin (NU) def. Tyler Head, 6-1, 6-0. Sterlin Johnson (F) def. Noah Stocker, 6-3, 6-0.
Doubles: Isaiah Johnson-Nic Gartner (NU) def. Andrew Johnson-Ryan Busche, 6-2, 6-1. Jake Kallenbach-Mitch Anderton (F) def. Billy Griffith-Sam Frederickson, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. Carter Klanderud-Austin Becker (F) def. David Struck-Taylor Tamborino 6-0, 6-0.
Fairmont collected a 7-0 victory over New Ulm during junior varsity action on Friday in New Ulm.
Tony Joseph and Andy Hagen combined for a three Cardinal victories, pairing up for a doubles win before each player downed an opponent in singles.
Kellen Rodriguez and Shawn Busche earned a pair of doubles victories for the Fairmont JV as did teammates Ben Hernes and Connor Madsen.