St. Cloud loses close semifinals match against Bemidji

ST. CLOUD – The last two matches for of the regular season for the St. Cloud boys tennis team came down to the wire. St. Cloud earned a 5-2 win over Monticello in the Section 8-2A quarterfinals on Wednesday.

The Crush advanced to the semifinals Friday against Bemidji and, once again, it came down to the wires. The Lumberjacks were able to come out with the 4-3 win to eliminate St. Cloud.

St. Cloud won four of the seven first sets.

Bemidji started the scoring with a 1-0 lead as St. Cloud’s Charles Simon was swept 6-0, 6-0 in No. 4 singles. The Lumberjacks continued to extend its lead as the Crush’s Colin Cai lost 6-1, 6-1 in No. 3 singles.

St. Cloud’s Ripley Garden and Jonah Atkinson cut that lead in half with a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 1 doubles. Shortly after, Ben Eiynck and Jacob Vogel lost 6-3, 6-1 in No. 3 doubles to make it a 3-1 Bemidji lead.

Tech's Ripley Garden concentrates on the ball during a doubles match against Monticello Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Tech High School.

The Crush needed to win the last three matches to advance to the section finals match. St. Cloud was able to tie up the match at 3-3 with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 singles.

Michael Plombon earned the 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 1 singles and Gavin Fenstad earned the 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 2 singles.

Tied 3-3, it all came down to the No. 2 doubles match. St. Cloud’s Zach Stang and Josh Vogel faced off against Bemidji’s Jack McNallan and Aidan Larson in that No. 2 doubles match.

Gavin Fenstad concentrates on the ball during his match against Monticello Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Tech High School.

Stang and Vogel fought through a tiebreaker in the first set to win 7-6 and take a 1-0 lead. The second set went back and forth between the two pairings, but McNallan and Larson were able to pull out the 6-4 win and tie the match at 1-1.

As the two pairings prepared for the third set, there was no other match going on and all the eyes were on the No. 2 doubles third set.

McNallan and Larson used their momentum at the end of the second set to start the third set and take a 1-0 lead. The second game was long as the two pairings went through a number of deuces and advantages, but the Bemidji pairing won to take a 2-0 lead.

Jonah Atkinson of Tech concentrates on the ball during the match against Monticello Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Tech High School.

Stang and Vogel won the next game to make it 2-1, but McNallan and Larson went on a roll to complete the third set and win 6-2 to earn the 4-3 team victory for Bemidji.

It was a tough loss to end the team season for the Crush as St. Cloud was eliminated from the section team tournament. The Crush still has an opportunity to compete this spring with the Section 8-2A individual tournament happening next week.

The St. Cloud singles players and doubles pairings will battle section players starting at 10 am Monday at Becker High School. The top singles players and doubles pairings will advance to Thursday’s finals at Tech High School.

Cathedral / St.  John's Prep senior Chandler Hendricks hits a forehand Monday, April 11, 2022, at Discovery Community School in Waite Park.

Fridley 7, Cathedral 0

The No. 6 seed Cathedral Crusaders traveled to the No. 3 seed Fridley Tigers on Friday for the Section 6A team quarterfinals.

Cathedral lost 7-0 against Fridley to end its team section tournament run, but the Crusaders will have another opportunity at the Section 6A individual tournament next week.

The Crusaders will take on other singles players and doubles pairings starting on Friday, May 27, at Pine City High School.

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