ST. PETER - Blue Earth Area junior Karleigh Wolff and the Bucs' sophomore doubles team of Karli Olsen and Natali Fellows reached Monday's Section 2A individual tennis semifinals with two wins each on Thursday at the Swanson Tennis Center at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.
Wolff gave everything that she had, incuding her right shoe, to beat St. Peter's Valerie Bresnahan 6-1, 6-1 in her opening singles match.
After cruising through the opening set 6-1, Wolff built a 4-1 lead in the second set.
QUICK REFLEXES — Blue Earth Area doubles player Natali Fellows uses a quick flip of the wrist to return a shot near the net during Section 2A individual tennis action Thursday at the Swanson Tennis Center in St. Peter. Fellows and doubles partner Karli Olsen, along with Buc singles player Karleigh Wolff, went on to reach Monday’s sectional semifinals. (Photo by Kjestine Steinbring)
Bresnahan then worked Wolff side-to-side along the baseline during the final two games, forcing Wolff to lose her shoe on the final point of the match, before the Buc junior captured the 6-1 set and match victory.
"I thought that she played great, and she played smart," said Blue Earth Area head coach Terry Barnes. "She didn't try to power the ball past her opponent on every point. A lot of the time she chose to go for the smart shot."
Wolff's smart play continued into her quarterfinal match with Sibley East's Mariah Schrupp.
In the early stages, Schrupp hit lobs over Wolff, who was at the net, to keep the match within striking distance at 2-1.
Wolff though rebounded and found her ground strokes and serve to put Schrupp on her heels.
The No. 2-seeded Wolff closed out the first set 6-3, before sailing through the second set to win 6-1.
"I was extremely pleased with how Karleigh set up her points today in both matches and was able to finish them off," said Barnes. "She had fun playing today, and it was fun to watch her do that."
Wolff now faces United South Central's Julia Stenzel in the semifinals at noon Monday at the Swanson Tennis Center.
Stenzel beat Jordan's Paige Moran (6-1, 6-1) and Le Sueur-Henderson's Carlie Brandt (6-4, 6-4) to reach the semifinals.
In the doubles portion of the competition, the Bucs' Karli Olsen and Natali Fellows eased through two matches to reach their semifinal match.
After struggling early in their opening match against LeSueur-Henderson's Kennedy Straub and Katelyn Hank, Olsen and Fellows found their zone and closed out the 6-3, 6-0 first-round win.
"They are both young players, but they are a really strong team together," said Barnes. "When they get focused, they can be really fun to watch and tough to beat."
That put the No. 2-seeded Bucs against United South Central's Joyce Rubio and Angela Bixby, a team that they had beaten twice before by scores of 7-5, 7-5.
This time, the Bucs would not let the Rebels get that close.
With sizzling serves off Karli Olsen's racket and Fellows' consistent ground strokes, the Bucs downed the Rebel pair 6-2, 6-0 to advance to the semifinal.
"Those two teams had played each other twice to 7-5, 7-5 matches, but Karli and Natali played so well, they left no doubt in the other team's mind," said Barnes.
Karli Olsen and Fellows square off against Jordan's Victoria Read and Rachel Menke in their semifinal on Monday.
Read and Menke beat Maple River's Megan Langworthy and Cassie Barkosky 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, followed by a win over Tri-City United's Courtney Hentges and Kori Lowe 7-5, 6-2 in the quarterfinals to reach the semis.
BEA's Anikka Wilhelmi opened her day in the singles bracket with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Belle Plaine's Grace Olson before facing top-seeded Claire Christian from USC in the quarterfinals.
Wilhelmi challenged Christian, forcing her to make errors, but was only able to claim one game, losing 6-0, 6-1.
Christian, who beat Jordan's Katherine Ishinose 6-0, 6-0 in the first round, will face Sibley East's Breann Walsh in the other singles semifinal.
Kaitlyn Olsen and Lindsey Prokop traded in their singles expertise for a chance to play doubles for the Bucs in the meet.
Kaitlyn Olsen and Prokop downed St. Peter's Katie Sandquist and Kali Cummins 6-1, 6-0 in their opening match before the Rebels' No. 1-seeded team of Linsey Thisius and Kia Legred ended their state hopes. Thisius and Legred defeated the Bucs, 6-2, 6-2.
The Rebels also beat TCU's Breanna Jaycox and Rosa Ruiz, 6-0, 6-0 in the first round, and face Belle Plaine's Ashley Morrison and Jane Schneider in the other doubles semifinal.
Section 2A Individual
Girls Tennis Meet
Play-in matches: Katherine Ichinose (J) d. Molly Tiede (TCU) 6-0, 6-4. Valerie Bresnahan (SP) d. Ireland Lambrecht (BP) 6-4, 7-5.
1st Round: Claire Christian (USC) d. Ichinose (J) 6-0, 6-0. Anikka Wilhelmi (BEA) d. Grace Olson (BP) 6-4, 6-0. Rachel Huber (SP) d. Katherine Chadwick (LSH) 6-2, 6-1. Breann Walsh (SE) d. Hannah Proehl (MR) 6-1, 6-1. Carlie Brandt (LSH) d. Chase Arndt (TCU) 6-2, 6-2. Julia Stenzel (USC) d. Paige Moran (J) 6-1, 6-1. Mariah Schrupp (SE) d. Rachel Rigdon (MR) 6-1, 6-1. Karleigh Wolff (BEA) d. Bresnahan (SP) 6-1, 6-1.
Quarterfinals: Christian (USC) d. Wilhelmi (BEA) 6-0, 6-1. Walsh (SE) d. Huber (SP) 7-5, 6-3. Stenzel (USC) d. Brandt (LSH) 6-4, 6-4. Wolff (BEA) d. Schrupp (SE) 6-3, 6-1.
Play-in matches: Breanna Jaycox-Rosa Ruiz (TCU) d. Carina Larson-Julia Fogarty (J) 6-4, 6-2. Kennedy Straub-Katelyn Hank (LSH) d. Ashley Mercier-Ella Lundstrom (SE) 6-2, 6-7(17-15), 10-8.
1st Round: Linsey Thisius-Kia Legred (USC) d. Jaycox-Ruis (TCU) 6-0, 6-0. Kaitlyn Olsen-Lindsey Prokop (BEA) d. Katie Sandquist-Kali Cummins (SP) 6-1, 6-0. Katherine Cronk-Tracy Eischens (LSH) d. Emily Spear-Steph Beto (MR) 6-4, 6-4. Ashley Morrison-Jane Schneider (BP) d. Alicia Kranz-Alli Harter (SE) 6-1, 6-3. Victoria Read-Rachel Menke (J) d. Megan Langworthy (MR) 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. Courtney Hentges-Kori Lowe (TCU) d. Rachel Schroers-Katelyn Schmit (BP) 6-0, 6-1. Joyce Rubio-Angela Bixby (USC) d. Mallory Malecek-Michaela Meyer (SP) 6-1, 7-5. Karli Olsen-Natali Fellows (BEA) d. Straub-Hank (LSH) 6-3, 6-0.
Quarterfinals: Thisius-Legred (USC) d. Kaitlyn Olsen-Prokop (BEA) 6-2, 6-2. Morrison-Schneider (BP) d. Cronk-Eischens 6-0, 6-1. Read-Menke (J) d. Hentges-Lowe (TCU) 7-5, 6-2. Karli Olsen-Fellows (BEA) d. Rubio-Bixby (USC) 6-2, 6-0.