FAIRMONT - As night began to fall on the Cardinal Courts in Fairmont, the Fairmont Cardinal girls tennis team concluded its rare day of twin dual meets with two victories.
Fairmont won its first meet of the day, edging the River Valley Wildcats, 4-3, in a nonconference dual before closing out the night by sweeping the Worthington Trojans, 7-0, in a Big South Conference showdown.
"They've (Fairmont players) really done a good job of staying positive. ... They always come into a meet focused on doing their best," said Cardinal head coach Kathy Krezel.
TEAMWORK — Fairmont’s Shantel Quist hammers a forehand return as first doubles teammate Lauren Carlson (back) sprints to cover the baseline during nonconference tennis action against River Valley on Tuesday at the Cardinal Courts in Fairmont. Quist and Carlson went on to win the meet-clinching match. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Trailing River Valley by a 3-2 deficit in the opening meet and two matches remaining, Fairmont's No. 2 singles player Abby Fitzgerald defeated Lauren Laffen, 6-3, 6-3, to tie the team score at 3-all.
The Cardinals' No. 1 doubles team of Shantel Quist and Lauren Carlson then narrowly defeated Natalie Stevens and Erika Ries in back-to-back tiebreakers, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-3), to give Fairmont the 4-3 come-from-behind victory.
"It's tough to play two matches. Some of the first matches were rather long and they were out there a long time and then to come out just as aggressive and keep the footwork going. ... You can see how much they are maturing on the court as tennis players," said Krezel.
No. 1 singles player Sophie Shelgren led the way for Fairmont in defeating Worthington, 7-0. Shelgren downed Emily Williamson, 6-3, 6-3, en route to claiming her second victory of the day.
"Her game has improved so much, her confidence level has gone way up. Her strokes have improved so much since last year, and I think that has helped with her confidence," Krezel said in reference to Shelgren.
After securing the victory in the first meet, Quist and Carlson won their second match of the day against Worthington's Brianna Kempema and Annie Lesnar, 6-1, 6-4, at first doubles.
Fairmont's second doubles team of Hayley Fogelson and Morgan Cihoski bounced back from their loss in the first match to defeat the Trojans' Paige Stewart and Erika Schutte, 6-4, 7-5.
"We're just looking at improving a little bit every match, and we're looking at the end of the season, that we'll be in a place where the other teams are gonna have to worry about us," said Krezel.
Fairmont's singles record for the day was 7-1, while the doubles teams were 4-3 on the double dual.
Fairmont (3-5) plays host to Class A, No. 3-ranked Waseca (5-0) at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cardinal Courts.
River Valley 3
Singles: Sophie Shelgren (F) d. Kalyn Haas, 6-1, 6-3. Abby Fitzgerald (F) d. Lauren Laffen, 6-3, 6-3. Ellie Tonder (F) d. Alyssa Rubey, 6-0, 6-4. Hanna Himmelman (RV) d. Leah Fortune, 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles: Shantel Quist-Lauren Carlson (F) d. Natalie Stevens-Erika Ries, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-3). Carissa Evers-Ashley Johnson (RV) d. Hayley Fogelson-Morgan Cihoski, 6-2, 6-1. Samantha Walker-Darlie Ries (RV) d. Anna Hernes-Brittany Bass, 6-1, 6-0.
Singles: Sophie Shelgren (F) d. Emily Williamson, 6-3, 6-3. Abby Fitzgerald (F) d. Kristy Workman, 6-0, 6-0. Ellie Tonder (F) d. Kelly Newman, 6-0, 6-1. Leah Fortune (F) d. Coral Owens, 6-4, 6-2.
Doubles: Shantel Quist-Lauren Carlson (F) d. Brianna Kempema-Annie Lesnar, 6-1, 6-4. Hayley Fogelson-Morgan Cihoski (F) d. Paige Stewart-Erika Schutte, 6-4, 7-5. Kaitlyn Cihoski-Brittany Bass (F) d. Theresa Biber-Sophia Pingsmann, 6-4, 6-4.