One of the things that makes team tennis so unique is it doesn’t matter if a player is playing in the top position or the last position, each players’ individual results is worth one team point. What this means is even if a team has the best player in the state playing at first singles, if the team wins a particular match could come down to if the fourth singles or third doubles team can win their match.
The Bluejacket girls team is a prime example of this. Although they have quality tennis players, what has led them to this season’s success is a depth of players who are contributing wins all throughout their lineup. This depth was on full display in C-I’s first two Section 7AA team tournament matches as the #3 seeded Jackets edged out victories over Andover (5-2) and Blaine (4-3) to advance to their first-ever section semifinals.
C-I’s strong singles play once again powered the team as Chloe Hajek (first singles), Ava Lowman (second singles), Natalie Randall (third singles) and Evie Porta (fourth singles) all went 2-0 in the two matches. Included in those wins was Lowman’s thrilling three-set, come-from-behind win at second singles that broke a 3-3 team-score deadlock against Blaine.
“At every position, our players fought hard for every ball during their matches for our team and then cheered on their teammates with heart up until that last winning team point,” said head coach Thea Lowman. “I couldn’t be prouder of the work ethic and team focus of these girls.”
The Jackets will now face a strong Pequot Lakes team at Pequot Lakes on Thursday, Oct. 14. The #2 seeded Patriots have swept both of their tournament matches 7-0. A Jacket upset would propel C-I to the section finals on Saturday, Oct. 16 at either Chisago Lakes or Rogers.
section 7aa individual tournament
Besides the team tournament, the Jackets, along with North Branch, began the individual section tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 12, with each school alloted up to two singles players and two doubles teams.
For the Jackets, senior Chloe Hajek was rewarded with the south subsection’s #2 seed, giving her a first-round bye. In the second round, she faced North Branch senior Hailey Bistodeau, who was seeded #15 and had won her first match 6-1,6-0 over Annalina Johnson of Chisago Lakes. Hajek swept Bistodeau 6-1, 6-0, advancing Hajek to the quarterfinals,where she defeated Elk River’s Paige Johnson 6-2,6-3 Hajek’s day finished with a 7-6(5), 6-0 loss to Forest Lake’s Malia McKinnon.
Also competing in the singles tournament were C-I eighth grader Evie Porta, who lost in the first round. North Branch’s Rachel Wurdemann was given the #9 seed and won her first match over Morghan Locken of Andover 6-4, 6-0. Wurdemann lost her second match 6-1, 6-1 to Elk River’s Ava Nelson, the #1 seed.
In the doubles tournament, C-I’s “Maddies” (Maddie Lawrence and Maddie Troolin) earned the #3 seed. The duo won their first two matches by scores of 6-1, 6-2 and 6-4, 6-3 before falling to Elk River’s top doubles team in the quarterfinals. The Jackets’ Ava Lowman and Natalie Randall, who typically competed in singles, were paired together for the tournament and received the #9 seed. They won their first match 7-5, 3-6, 6-1, but lost their next match.
Competing for North Branch were the teams of Sophia Helinsky and Justine Joyal, and Brooke Rothe and Carrie Hall. Both those teams lost in their opening round matches.