The Brainerd Warriors tennis team is rolling through the Central Lakes Conference, picking up momentum as it goes.
The wins are starting to cause rumbles in the CLC, like one of those spring storms that tumbles across the sky every so often.
After defeating Alexandria 4-3 in Brainerd Tuesday, the Warriors will now trek south, on a collision course with St. Cloud Tech. Both teams are undefeated in the conference and are scheduled to meet twice in the last two weeks of the season, Thursday at Tech and May 18 in Brainerd.
On this day, thoughts of Tech were set aside. Alexandria, a team the Warriors had beaten 4-3 on the road earlier in the season, had come to town bent on derailing the Warriors, who improved to 8-0 along with Warrior singles players Chad Anderson and Paul Tuchscherer.
"We knew from our last match with Alex that this was going to be a battle," said Warriors coach Bruce Thompson. "Alexandria is definitely a very good team."
Erik Bohn was defeated by Alexandria's Matt Carlson 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1 singles. But Tuchscherer, Anderson and Torben Behmer each posted singles wins for Brainerd.
"I really thought our singles players competed well," said Thompson. "Erik Bohn played a very nice player and I thought Erik played well. Tuchscherer's opponent just kept coming to the net and that's a very challenging style to contend with."
Tuchscherer won his match 7-5, 6-1 and credited his ground game and stepped-up serve as keys to his victory over Alexandria's Mark Lovrien.
"He came to the net a lot," said Tuchscherer, "so I had to pass him a lot. I stepped up on my ground strokes and that was a big part of the win for me.
"In the first game, after being down 4-1, he came back at 4-4. I kind of let him get back into it. At that point I stepped up my game. I had been a little tentative with my serve but I started to put more speed on it."
The Warriors' team of Brent Thompson-John Cairns won at No. 1 doubles by scores of 6-3, 6-4. In the day's longest contest, Brainerd's Matt Steiger-Shaun Kennedy lost in three sets to Charlie Holt-Tim Lovrien.
Unpredictable spring weather has resulted in several washouts of both practices and meets. That same inconsistency has also showed up during the Warriors' meets. Consistency is something Bruce Thompson hopes his team develops by the time it travels to Tech.
"I thought we competed well today," said Thompson, "but we're still not consistent. We'd play a few good points and then a number of not-so-good points. We haven't put everything together yet. Tech has a very decent singles lineup and a very good doubles lineup. They don't have any weaknesses along the way. We've got to pick it up at a few spots. We just can't be intimidated by Tech. We just have to play them like they're just anybody else."
If consistency is going to show up, right about now would be a good time. After facing Thursday, the Warriors will play Willmar on Friday, Sartell the following Thursday and a home rematch with Tech May 18.
Brainerd 4, Alexandria 3
No. 1 -- Matt Carlson (A) def. Erik Bohn 6-4, 6-1; No. 2 -- Paul Tuchscherer (B) def. Mark Lovrien 7-5, 6-1; No. 3 -- Torben Behmer (B) def. Justin Damstrom 6-1, 6-1; No. 4 -- Chad Anderson (B) def. Stas Spiridonov 6-0, 6-0.
No. 1 -- Brent Thompson-John Cairns (B) def. Charly Good-John Bronson 6-3, 6-4; No. 2 -- Jared Miller-Jon Dumm (A) def. Mat Holbrook-Chris Lauer 6-4, 6-2; No. 3 -- Charlie Holt-Tim Lovrien (A) def. Mat Steiger-Shaun Kennedy 6-7 (7-1), 7-5, 6-4.
Conference -- B 8-0. Overall -- B 8-0. Next meet -- Brainerd 4:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Cloud Tech.
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