Brainerd Warrior senior Paul Tuchscherer is simply known on campus as "Tuch."
The back of his tennis shirt reads, "Eddie."
At the Brainerd High School courts Tuesday, Tuchscherer moved closer to being known as Section 8, Class 2A champion. The senior dispatched Elk River's Ben Hasskamp 6-1, 6-1 in their first-ever meeting.
Hasskamp, the South Subsection's fourth seed, was no match for the North Subsection champion. Tuchscherer quickly found Hasskamp's weakness and exploited it.
"I had absolutely no clue what his game was about or anything," said Tuchscherer. "I knew he had to be strong to get into the top four from the South because that's a strong subsection.
"I noticed right away I needed to hit it to his backhand and get to the net a lot more often."
Tuchscherer was scheduled to battle sophomore Dan LaFountaine of St. Cloud Apollo in today's semifinals.
"I'm very happy with the way I'm progressing at the end of the year," said Tuchscherer. "Earlier in the year my mental game wasn't as top-notch as it is now.
"I figured that it's too important of a time to let your mental game lose it for you."
Brainerd's Matt Steiger already knew the weaknesses of Michael Engdahl of St. Cloud Tech. Steiger said he knew he had to attack the junior's backhand. For the most part he did, but he didn't do it enough.
"You just have to have a game plan and a stick to it type deal," said Steiger. "I just wanted to keep it to his backhand and come to the net. That was the only thing in my head when I played."
Steiger lost to the defending section champion 6-3, 6-2 and was eliminated from the tournament. Despite the loss, Steiger felt, since he and Engdahl are both juniors, that next year's tournament will be even more interesting.
"There are shots I could have made that definitely frustrated me," said Steiger. "You have to give him respect. He's a really good player.
"I thought I played decent. I can beat him. I have a chance at him next year, I think."
Brainerd's only doubles entry, the senior duo of Mark Norman-John Benson, bowed out to Tech's Keith Grant-Ryan Beduhn 6-0, 6-1.
"We knew they were really tough," said Norman. "We knew we had to play our best tennis to even compete with them. They're really quick and they get up to the net really fast so we had to hit the ball hard on our returns in order to keep them back. We didn't do that so well."
It was the third time the Brainerd pair faced Tech, but the first time they faced this combination of players.
"The one guy was a new guy," said Benson. "He had been playing soccer a lot or something. I don't know where he came from, but he was a ringer."
Benson thought he and Benson never really reached their full potential as a doubles team. Norman said the rocky road to improvement was a good one.
"For John and I, this was our first year playing together," said Norman. "It takes a while to figure out the chemistry in doubles. Toward the end of the season we kind of figured out how we work together and move. Then we got to the playoffs and we were ready to go."
Section 8, Class 2A
St. Cloud Tech 4, Fergus Falls 3
No. 1 -- Michael Engdahl (T) def. Josh Mohagen 6-3, 7-6, (7-0); No. 2 -- Jack Underwood (FF) def. Chaise VanOverbeke 6-2, 6-3; No. 3 -- Matt Schoeneck (FF) def. Michael Risch-Janson 6-2, 6-1; No. 4 -- Jake Haws (FF) def. Nic Feddema 6-4, 6-3
No. 1 -- Ryan Beduhn-Keith Grant (T) def. Joe Sanderson-Al Lepp 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 -- Kris Johnson-Ben Kriesl (T) def. Jeff Beck-Clay Nestor 6-4, 6-1; No. 3 -- Anthony Nelson-Geoff Carlson (T) def. Blake Pederson-David Erickson 6-2, 2-6, 7-5
Section 8, Class 2A
Paul Tuchscherer (Brd) def. Ben Hasskamp (Elk River) 6-1, 6-1
Dan LaFountaine (Apollo) def. Tom Ronning (Alex) 6-0, 6-2
Alex Hagedorn (Detroit Lakes) def. Chaise VanOverbeke 6-2, 6-3
Michael Engdahl (Tech) def. Matt Steiger (Brd) 6-3, 6-2
Josh Mohagen-Jack Underwood (FF) def. Noah Persson-Jake Borgerding 6-3, 6-2
Eric Holter-Mark Hallstrom (Will) def. John Konecne-Avery Hays (Bem) 6-3, 6-4
Matt Johnson-Judah Birkeland (Elk River) def. Brian Schwartz-Erik White 6-2, 6-2
Keith Grant-Ryan Beduhn (Tech) def. Mark Norman-John Benson (Brd) 6-0, 6-1
Next meet -- Section individual finals 9 a.m. today Brainerd High School.
Aitkin tennis season concludes
DULUTH -- Scotty Hawley of Eveleth-Gilbert defeated Roman Haberkorn of Aitkin 6-2, 6-2 in the opening round of the Section 7, Class 1A individual tennis tournament Tuesday.
In doubles competition, Luke Jentilini-Andy Erickson of Virginia won in straight sets over the Gobblers' team of Adam Janzen-Brian Hallberg 6-2, 6-4 in the first round, ending their season.
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