Technically, Tuesday’s Central Lakes Conference match didn’t mean anything.
It would have been hard to tell, however, as both the Brainerd Warriors’ and St. Cloud Tech Tigers’ players waited impatiently for the final two doubles matches to conclude.
When Brainerd’s No. 1 doubles team of Kayla Kraemer-Sara Wennerstrand finally knocked off Tech’s Jill Kedrowski-Lexie Portz 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-2 the roars ignited because Brainerd had claimed a 4-3 victory.
“It was a really important match because it gives us confidence when we most likely meet them again in sections,” said Wennerstrand.
What wasn’t at stake was the Central Lakes Conference, which Brainerd had sealed on Friday. Tech finished second. Section 8-2A seedings were already determined, too. Brainerd was named the North Subsection’s No. 1 seed. Tech earned the South Subsection’s No. 1 spot.
What Tuesday’s win did mean for the Warriors was an unbeaten conference regular season and a good tune-up before Friday’s opening round of the postseason.
“The motivation to beat Tech was to keep the winning going and to go undefeated in the conference,” said Brainerd head coach Ellen Fussy. “But after conference anything can happen. When you get into playoffs, if you have an off match or a couple of girls are off, then you go home.
“But our girls have a lot of matches under their belts. There is no reason we can’t play well on Friday and hopefully again on Saturday. That’s our goal to be playing Saturday night at 7 p.m.”
That’s when the Section 8-2A final is scheduled and that’s when Brainerd’s Mikinzee Salo, Natalie Comeau and Mackayla Headlee could once again get singles victories like they did Tuesday.
Tech’s Taylor Tarrolly and the No. 3 doubles team won for the Tigers, setting up the 3-2 score with Kraemer-Wennerstrand and Brainerd’s No. 2 doubles team of Nichole Gervenak-Megan Hintz still on the court to get the final team point.
Kraemer-Wennerstrand battled back from 6-5 deficit to win the first set 7-6. After struggling to make shots in the second set the Warriors felt the pressure and exploded for the win.
“It is always hard to come back when you’re down by that much, but we just played every ball and didn’t think about the whole match itself, but just thought about each point,” said Kraemer. “When (Brainerd teammates) came over and said what the match was at that point I felt pressure and I was like, ‘Oh, Geez.’ I just tried not to think about that and pushed that aside and focused on our own match.”
Brainerd 4, St. Cloud Tech 3
No. 1: Mikinzee Salo (Brd) def. Kristin Wurm 6-0, 6-3
No. 2: Taylor Tarrolly (Tech) def. Briana Rademacher 6-3, 6-3
No. 3: Natalie Comeau (Brd) def. Kathryn Williams 6-4, 6-0
No. 4: Mackayla Headlee (Brd) def. Sabrina Strum 6-3, 6-0
No. 1: Kayla Kraemer-Sara Wennerstrand (Brd) def. Lexie Portz-Jill Kedrowski 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-2
No. 2: Kalia Burroughs-Leah Wurm (Tech) def. Nichole Gervenak-Megan Hintz 7-5, 3-6, 6-3
No. 3: Meagan Larkin-Samantha Eisenreich (Tech) def. Caitlin Steffen-Morgan Steffen
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.