Monday was Senior Recognition Night at Brainerd High School. With six seniors in the lineup the Warriors' tennis team moved up the start of its dual meet against Sartell by 45 minutes.
They probably could have started at the regular time as Brainerd required less than 60 minutes in some matches to dispatch Sartell 7-0 in Central Lakes Conference action.
Brainerd won six of seven matches in straight sets as it glided to its ninth straight victory.
The Warriors lead the conference with an 8-1 mark. They avenged their only loss, to Alexandria, with a 4-3 win over the Cardinals five days ago.
"We're feeling really, really good right now," No. 2 singles player Morgan Salo said. "Alexandria was a big win for us. We really wanted to get them back after they beat us here.
"We're just taking it one step at a time," Salo said. "We don't want to think too far ahead, just take it one match at a time and hopefully it gets us somewhere."
Devin Larson, at No. 1 singles, was the only Warrior who was extended to three sets, losing 6-2 before winning 6-2, 6-2 and raising his record to 10-3.
Salo also improved to 10-3 with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Andrew Ley. All phases of the senior's game were clicking Monday.
"I played really well today," Salo said. "Last week when we played Alexandria I didn't have that good of a match but I got focused, came back and played. I had my 'A' game on today."
Salo's game has drawn the attention of Division I South Dakota State University, with which he will sign a letter of intent to play tennis next season. He said landing with the Jackrabbits was "kind of a fluke."
"I want to go into civil engineering," he said. "I was trying to find colleges with a civil engineering major and tennis. I was looking at St. Cloud State but they don't have civil engineering.
"I was researching online and I found South Dakota State. I know two of the players that play there and thought I might as well check this out. When South Dakota State came to play St. Cloud State I went down and watched the match. I know one of the former players from St. Cloud Apollo, and he plays there now. He actually told the coach about me, so the coach kind of knew who I was.
"It just kind of got started from there. I went there in September, visited with the coach, and I'm really excited about it."
Brainerd's other singles wins were by Jordan Shiltz, who improved to 10-3 at No. 3, and Jordan Goos, who's 13-0 at No. 4.
Doubles victories were by the pairs of Nate Henningson-Corey Kuglin, Michael Ruen-Jared Anderson and Garth Askegaard-Chris Rud.
Anderson and Rud are 13-0 in doubles matches, Askegaard 12-1, Ruen 11-1, Henningson 11-2 and Kuglin 10-3.
Brainerd 7, Sartell 0
No. 1: Devin Larson (B) def. Alex Hanson 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
No. 2: Morgan Salo (B) def. Andrew Ley 6-0, 6-0
No. 3: Jordan Shiltz (B) def. AJ Thoms 6-1, 7-5
No. 4: Jordan Goos (B) def. Adam Karajian 6-0, 6-0
No. 1: Nate Henningson-Corey Kuglin (B) def. Keaton Hauser-Andrew Reinholz 6-0, 6-1
No. 2: Michael Ruen-Jared Anderson (B) def. Matt Nahan-Ryan Nahan 6-0, 6-3
No. 3: Garth Askegaard-Chris Rud (B) def. Josh Rostad-Shawn Kidder 6-0, 6-2
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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