The Brainerd Smashes are in position to do damage Tuesday.
Through five of the nine rounds in the United States Tennis Association Northern Junior Team Area Championship Monday at Brainerd High School, the Smashes are in third place behind the Staples Cardinals and Hibbing Blackjackets
This despite a third-round bye, while Staples and Hibbing both have byes remaining.
The Smashes, who consist of Trent Anderson, Gunner Askegaard, Jordan Shiltz, Cole Sundquist, Mackayla Headlee, Kayla Kraemer, Mikinzee Salo and Courtney Tusler, dominated their four opponents to accumulate 112 games, Staples tallied 142 games in five matches.
Those two teams will square off in the tournament's sixth round Tuesday at Forestview.
Kristina Anderson returned a shot Monday at Forestview Middle School during the Junior Team Tennis Tournament.
Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey
The top two teams in the 18-and-under tournament will advance to the USTA Northern JTT Section Tournament at the Baseline Tennis Center at the University of Minnesota.
"The expectations for us is that we all want to win and we all want to advance to sections down at the U," said Sundquist. "With our lineup, we have people who played varsity last year or have varsity experience."
The Brainerd Smashes defeated the Grand Rapids Orange 30-13, the Hibbing Blackjackets 26-13, the St. Cloud Set Points 28-10 and the Brainerd Aces 28-12.
"We really want to go," said Salo. "We've been working toward this tournament for a long time. It's just so much fun. We had a team practice (Sunday) and just told each other that we needed to get off to a good start and if we get behind just to fight for every point we can.
"We really want to go."
After the Smashes square off with Staples 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at Forestview Middle School in Baxter, they'll face the Brainerd Slices at 9:30 a.m. at the same place. Then it's off to Brainerd High School to face the St. Cloud Cubs at 11:30 a.m. and finally the Duluth Black at 1 p.m.
"I just kind of take it one match a time," said Salo. "I just focus on what I'm doing and try not to get to distracted with what's happening on the other courts. I always want to do good so I just focus on my match and one point at a time. Then you take a little rest and do it all over again.
The Aces are in eighth place with 60 points. They are made up of Ben Anderholm, Reno Fussy, Bobby Posch , Parker Sundquist , Briana Rademacher , Mara Williams, Alex Williamson and Zoe Wolhart.
The Brainerd Slices are in ninth place with 58 points. They consist of Ryan Bell, Nick Goll, Luke Jacobsen, Kyle Johnson, Megan Hintz, Rosemary Hunter, Heather Jaeche, Maiah Maki.
WE SPOTTED: Junior Team Tennis Tournament
Photos from the Junior Team Tennis Tournament held at Forestview Middle School in Baxter.
Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey
Last season, the Smashes were denied a trip to the sectionals by the Hibbing Lobster. This year, the one and only goal is to get back to the next round.
"I just really, really want to go," said Sundquist. "Last year was the first year we didn't make it. When you lose by four points like we did last year, it just motivates you to work so much harder just to get back there.
"Honestly, I think our goal is to just keep playing well and try to get there. Then we'll see what happens from there."
In the 14 and under division played Monday at Forestview, the Hibbing Bulldogs topped the team standings with a first-place 148. They will advance to sections. Grand Rapids Green was second with 124 points. Brainerd Topspins placed third with 111 points and were followed by the Brainerd Overheads with 75 points and Duluth Red with 74 points.
The Topspins defeated the Overheads 34-18 and Duluth 37-19 and fell to the Green 29-23 and the Bulldogs 36-17.
The Overheads defeated Duluth 30-26 for their only win.
Hibbing won the team sportsmanship award with team members Scott Perunovich and Taylor Gunderson of Hibbing earning the individual awards.
Team standings (after five rounds): 1-Staples 142, 2-Hibbing 120, 3-Smashes 112, 4-Duluth Black 85, 5-Grand Rapids 83, 6-St. Cloud Cubs 81, 7-St. Cloud Set Point 79, 8-Brainerd Aces 60, 9-Brainerd Slices 58
def. Grand Rapids Orange 30-13
def. Brainerd Aces 28-12
def. St. Cloud Set Points 28-10
def. Hibbing Blackjackets 26-13
fell to Smashes 28-12
fell to Set Points 23-21
fell to Hibbing 26-17
fell to Staples Cardinals 29-10
fell to Cardinals 29-10
fell to St. Cloud Cubs 22-20
fell to Duluth Black 24-12
fell to Orange 25-16
def. Slices 28-10
def. Cubs 30-11
def. Black 30-14
def. Orange 25-16
def. Aces 29-10
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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