FAIRMONT - New Ulm's three freshmen netters saved the day for the Eagles.
Fourth singles player Joel Koelpin and the third doubles tandem of Earl Foster and Kelby Stocker delivered New Ulm's final two team points to cap a 4-3 South Central Conference tennis victory over the Fairmont Cardinals on Friday at the Cardinal Courts.
Trailing 3-2 on the team ledger, Joel Koelpin - the younger brother of No. 2 singles netter Josh Koelpin - battled back from a 6-0 opening-set loss to Cardinal sophomore Austin Becker to net a 6-3 second-set victory.
DOUBLE COVERAGE — Fairmont first doubles players Carter Klanderud (left) and Henrique Marquez take swings at a shot during South Central Conference dual-meet tennis action Friday at the Cardinal Courts in Fairmont. Marquez went on to hit a clean return on the play. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Becker built leads of 4-1 and 5-3 in the decisive set before the Eagle freshman assembled a four-game winning streak to capture the team point at 7-5 and knot the meet at 3-all.
Foster and Stocker squeezed by Fairmont's Ryan Busche and Calvin King in a down-to-the-wire first-set tiebreaker, 7-2, before the Cardinals' third doubles combination bounced back to claim a 4-3 edge in the second set.
Foster, who donned a stocking cap, played with ice in his veins near the net, connecting on winner after winner to even the set at 4 games apiece.
The New Ulm freshmen duo then registered a key service break before Foster served out the 6-4 second-set win to cap the purple-and-white's 4-3 comeback team triumph.
"We're still trying to figure out where all the pieces fit together in our lineup, but we're getting there," said New Ulm head coach Peter Engeldinger.
First singles phenom Manuel Martinez triggered Fairmont's three consecutive wins out of the starting gates by coasting by Calvin Collum Jr. in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1.
The smooth-hitting foreign exchange student from Spain broke serve early and often to stake the Cardinals to the early 1-0 team lead.
Jake Kallenbach and Mitch Anderton then combined court skills to post a 6-1 opening-set triumph over the Eagles' John Goodall and Neil Lindquist.
Kallenbach and Anderton then combined solid serving and blanket net coverage to net a 6-2 second-set victory to claim the No. 2 doubles point.
Tyler Head then extended the Cardinals' lead to 3-0 in the dual meet by pocketing a straight-sets win over Tim Haag.
Head cruised to a 6-1 first-set decision before bouncing back from a 3-2 deficit in the second set to claim a 6-3 win at third singles.
New Ulm junior Josh Koelpin, however, quickly countered by outlasting Sterlin Johnson in a second singles slugfest in back-to-back 6-4 sets.
Nic Gartner and Noah Stocker then outdueled Carter Klanderud and Henrique Marquez at first doubles, 7-5, 6-4, to inch the Eagles within 3-2 in the team scoring.
Fairmont (2-3, 1-2 SCC) travels to Albert Lea on Monday for a nonconference dual meet, while New Ulm (3-4, 1-2) plays host to Hutchinson on Tuesday.
New Ulm 4, Fairmont 3
Singles: Manuel Martinez (F) d. Calvin Collum Jr., 6-0, 6-1. Josh Koelpin (NU) d. Sterlin Johnson, 6-4, 6-4. Tyler Head (F) d. Tim Haag, 6-1, 6-3. Joel Koelpin (NU) d. Austin Becker, 0-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Doubles: Nic Gartner-Noah Stocker (NU) d. Carter Klanderud-Henrique Marquez, 7-5, 6-4. Jake Kallenbach-Mitch Anderton (F) d. John Goodall-Neil Lindquist, 6-1, 6-2. Earl Foster-Kelby Stocker (NU) d. Ryan Busche-Calvin King, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.
New Ulm 4, Fairmont 3
Singles: Martin Smith (NU) d. Eric Head, 3-5, 5-0, (10-3).
Doubles: Andy Hagen-Tony Joseph (F) d. Taylor Tambornino-Andrew Goodall, 5-1, 5-1. Conner Madsen-Shawn Busche (F) d. Cole Sasser-Alex Lemmer, 5-2, 5-3. Kellen Rodriguez-Ben Hernes (F) d. Daniel Lindquist-Ronnie Garcia, 5-0, 5-2. Justin Schapekahm-Justin Crowder (NU) d. Christo Washa-Collin Stone, 5-2, 5-1. Connor Drill-Jacob Todd (NU) d. Blake Haugen-Aaron Hendricks, 5-2, 5-1. Taylor Tambornino-Scott Johnson (NU) d. Matt Moeller-Andrew Zhang, 5-3, 5-3.
Albert Lea 6, Blue Earth Area 1 - The Tigers tracked down the Bucs for a 6-1 victory on Friday in Blue Earth.
Chandler Kienitz earned the Buc point of the meet by winning at second singles.
Kienitz lost the opening set to the Tigers' Garrett Matz, 6-3, but bounced back to win the second set 6-2.
With daylight fading, the pair played a super tiebreaker, with Kienitz taking the 10-3 win.
The Tigers managed to sweep the doubles portion of the bracket to help cruise to the meet victory.
Carter Dahl and Collin Jahnke downed Leon Chaudhari and Martin Granados in 6-1, 6-1 sets at the No. 1 position in doubles.
Cole Keyeski and Matt Carlson then won the second doubles match over Jaron King and Justus Thelen, 6-1, 6-0.
Tanner Shaft and Austin Dulitz teamed to shut out Spenser Timmerman and Parker Kienitz, 6-0, 6-0 at third doubles.
Taylor Herfindahl grabbed one of the Tigers' three wins in the singles bracket, beating Hunter Myers 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1.
Schafer Overgaard then beat Chance Andrews 6-2, 6-0 at third singles, while Andy Woitas earned the final point for Albert Lea with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Spencer Petersen at fourth singles.
Blue Earth Area (1-6, 0-3 SCC) travels to Redwood Falls on Tuesday.
Albert Lea 6, B.E. Area 1
Singles: Taylor Herfindahl (AL) def. Hunter Myers, 6-0, 6-1. Chandler Kienitz (BEA) def. Garrett Matz, 3-6, 6-2, 10-3. Schafer Overguard (AL) def. Chance Andrews, 6-2, 6-0. Andy Woitas (AL) def. Spencer Petersen, 6-1, 7-5.
Doubles: Carter Dahl-Collin Jahnke (AL) def. Leon Chaudhari-Martin Granados, 6-1, 6-1. Cole Keyeski-Matt Carlson (AL) def. Jaron King-Justus Thelen, 6-1, 6-0. Tanner Shaft-Austin Dulitz (AL) def. Spenser Timmerman-Parker Kienitz, 6-0, 6-0.