GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Thanks to strong play from its doubles lineup, the Brainerd Warriors girls' tennis team is entering the unknown
After defeating Alexandria 5-2 and Little Falls 7-0 Wednesday in the North Subsection 8-2A playoffs, the Warriors advanced to the section semifinals for the first time since head coach Marnie Whalen has been associated with the program.
Brainerd topped Little Falls in the quarterfinals before dispatching Alexandria, a team that had given the Warriors trouble in two regular season matches.
"This was the match of the season right there because we either ended it today or we moved on," said Whalen. "We had to come into the match playing pretty tough. Alexandria changed their lineup by putting their No. 1 singles player at No. 1 doubles. They figured they would sweep the doubles lineup and get a win at No. 4 singles. It was wonderful to see our doubles teams step up."
Catherine Luckemeyer-Zoe Houle needed a second-set tiebreaker to win in straight sets at No. 1 doubles. At No. 2 Erica Mortensen-Amber Arnoldy battled back from a second-set loss to win their match.
"Until it was over you just didn't know," said Whalen. "I didn't know if it was going to be 4-3, 3-4 or 5-2. At any moment it could have gone either way."
Kayla Huether, Taylor Headlee and Mikinzee Salo all won in straight sets in their singles matches.
All seven of the Warriors wins against Little Falls were in straight sets.
"This is especially fun because we have six seniors who have been on the team for the last four years," said Whalen. "You see that growth and development and you know they have that experience and poise in their back pocket and they showed it today."
Brainerd 5, Alexandria 2
No. 1: Kayla Huether (Brd) def. Emily Wilkins 6-0, 6-2; No. 2: Taylor Headlee (Brd) def. Danille Justice 6-0, 6-1; No. 3: Mikinzee Salo (Brd) def. Annie Trebelhorn 6-0, 7-6 (7-2); No. 4: Ashley White (Alex) def. Ashley Bostrom 5-7, 6-0, 6-2
No. 1: Catherine Luckemeyer-Zoe Houle (Brd) def. Ann Bergstrand-Nikki Ecklund 6-1, 7-6 (7-0); No. 2: Erica Mortensen-Amber Arnoldy (Brd) def. Carly Hanson-Eve Hartsell 6-2, 3-6, 6-2; No. 3: Holea Bruggman-Laura Johnson (Alex) def. Natalie Reponen-Rylie Fussy 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
Brainerd 7, Little Falls 0
No. 1: Kayla Huether (B) def. Sara Peterson 6-0, 6-2; No. 2: Taylor Headlee (B) def. Sam Koester 6-1, 6-2; No. 3: Mikinzee Salo (B) def. Jenae Anderson 6-1, 6-2; No. 4: Ashley Bostrom (B) def. Riana Rodewald 7-5, 6-0
No. 1: Catherine Luckemeyer-Zoe Houle (B) def. Anna Pfohl-Lauren Theis 6-1, 6-0; No. 2: Erica Mortensen-Amber Arnoldy (B) def. Amy Daniesl-Kaitlyn Emerson 6-1, 6-3; No. 3: Natalie Reponen-Rylie Fussy (B) def. Heather Igoe-Trista Miller 6-4, 6-2
Next: Brainerd, Little Falls in North Subsection 8-2A individual tournament at Grand Forks, N.D., 8 a.m. Thursday.
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