ST. PETER - Allison Moeller, Missy Viesselman and Aubrey Green achieved what had not happened in Fairmont's girls tennis program for 18 years - the senior trio qualified for the individual state meet.
Moeller captured runner-up honors to Section 3A singles champion Lorena Hernandez of St. James, while Viesselman and Green won their true-second doubles challenge during Day 2 of the individual meet at the Swanson Tennis Center in St. Peter.
Moeller and Hernandez open the Class A individual state singles tournament at 8 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis, while Viesselman and Green will join sectional doubles champions Aubrey Eckstrom and Julia Boeve of St. James in first-round state doubles action at 10 a.m. on the above date at the same site.
HEADED TO STATE — Fairmont doubles players Missy Viesselman (left) and Aubrey Green warm up Monday at the Swanson Tennis Center in St. Peter. Viesselman and Green went on to win a true-second challenge match during Monday’s Section 3A individual tennis meet to earn a Class A state bid. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
HEADED TO STATE — Fairmont singles netter Allison Moeller connects on a forehand return during Section 3A individual tennis action on Monday at the Swanson Tennis Center in St. Peter. Moeller went on to capture second place in the sectional to qualify for the Class A state individual tournament. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
"Our skills on the tennis court complement each other," Green said in reference to why the Cardinals' regular-season Nos. 1 and 2 singles players merged into a doubles team for the postseason.
"She's (Green) got net, and I've got back," Viesselman said in reference to the tandem's respective strengths.
After losing a back-and-forth 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 semifinal decision to No. 3-seeded Boeve and Eckstrom - who played Nos. 2 and 3 singles for the Saints during the regular season, the No. 2-seeded Viesselman and Green bounced back to capture the section's third-place match by outslugging No. 4-seeded Paige Adams and Kynzie Smedsrud of Luverne, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
Fairmont's bronze-medalist doubles tandem then waited to square off against top-seeded Ashley Frederickson and Acacia Foss of St. James in a true-second challenge match for the state bid. Eckstrom and Boeve outlasted Saint teammates Foss and Frederickson in a three-set marathon, 7-6 (7-1), 3-6, 6-3.
"It was first things first for them (Viesselman and Green) after they lost in the semifinals today," said Fairmont head coach Kathy Krezel. "(Assistant coach) Eric (Johnson) and I told them that they had to win the third-place match before worrying about a possible true-second match.
"So they focused on taking third (place) before putting together a great game plan against St. James (Foss and Frederickson)."
Green and Viesselman did exactly that, battling back from a 5-4 opening-set deficit to Adams and Smedsrud of Luverne in their third-place match to force a tiebreaker.
The Fairmont senior tandem squeezed out a 7-3 win in the extra session to claim the 7-6 first-set decision before garnering a 6-3 second-set win to march to the true-second clash against Foss and Frederickson.
After exchanging a pair of service breaks during the latter stages of the opening set, Viesselman and Green seized the early momentum during their tiebreaker with the St. James duo.
With Viesselman utilizing her seam-finding ground strokes from the baseline and Green wristing her quick-reflex returns near the net into the doubles alleys, the Fairmont duo built a 5-1 lead by the changeover in the tiebreaker. Viesselman smacked a forehand cross-court winner between the two Saints to later seal the 7-3 win in the extra session.
Green and Viesselman then snapped a 4-all tie in the second set via a service break and held serve one last time to produce the 6-4 second-set win in the true-second challenge match.
While Viesselman and Green matched their pre-sectional seeding, Moeller exceeded her No. 7 seed by leaps-and-bounds. After eliminating the No. 2 seed last Thursday, Moeller had her sights set on No. 3-seeded Kailey Maroney of Montevideo in Monday's semifinals.
Moeller bested Maroney in the opening set by a 6-1 decision before shoulder and collarbone injuries resurfaced. Maroney outslugged Moeller in a second-set tiebreaker - 7-4 - to force a decisive third frame.
"With all of the injuries I've had, I'm glad that I have a great chiropractor," Moeller said with a laugh.
The Fairmont left-hander regrouped during the changeover, and tallied a break early in the third set to grab a 4-1 edge en route to the 6-2 victory to advance to the sectional singles championship match.
Moeller later registered a key service break to transform a 4-0 first-set deficit to Hernandez to only one game down at 4-3. Hernandez, however, displayed the mettle of a champion by bouncing back to down Moeller by a 6-4 decision.
The top-seeded Hernandez, who netted fourth place at the 2012 sectional individual meet, rolled to a 6-0 second-set victory to claim the gold medal, sectional crown and a state bid.
Maroney, however, regrouped during the break and posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 4-seeded Kylie Jahn of Lac qui Parle Valley in the third-place match.
Since Moeller had defeated Maroney earlier, no true-second challenge was merited. Jahn opened Monday by dropping a 6-1, 6-2 semifinal decision to Hernandez.
Section 3A Individual Girls Tennis Meet
At Swanson Tennis Center
At Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter
Singles: Lorena Hernandez (St. James) d. Kylie Jahn (Lac qui Parle Valley), 6-1, 6-2. Allison Moeller (Fairmont) d. Kailey Maroney (Montevideo) 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2.
Doubles: Acacia Foss-Ashley Frederickson (St. James) d. Paige Adams-Kynzie Smedsrud (Luverne), 6-4, 7-6 (12-10). Aubrey Eckstrom-Julia Boeve (St. James) d. Aubrey Green-Missy Viesselman (Fairmont), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
Singles: Lorena Hernandez (St. James) d. Allison Moeller (F), 6-4, 6-0.
Doubles: Aubrey Eckstrom-Julia Boeve (St. James) d. Acacia Foss-Ashley Frederickson (St. James), 7-6 (7-1), 3-6, 6-3.
Singles: Kailey Maroney (Montevideo) d. Kylie Jahn (LQPV), 6-3, 6-4.
Doubles: Aubrey Green-Missy Viesselman (Fairmont) d. Paige Adams-Kynzie Smedsrud (Luverne), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
Doubles: Aubrey Green-Missy Viesselman (Fairmont) d. Acacia Foss-Ashley Frederickson (St. James), 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.