Tennis Cardinals second at Big 8 meet

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Cece Hujanen (shown here) teamed with Rose Ryan to win a Big Eight Conference championship at No. 2 doubles./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

MADISON — Terry Geurkink had no interest in crunching numbers.

Geurkink, Middleton’s girls tennis coach, knew his team was in a battle with Madison West for the Big Eight Conference championship last Thursday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. But Geurkink’s concentration was spent on the matches, not the scoreboard.

“I didn't know the score and I didn't want to know,” Geurkink said. “I was just focused on making sure we played to our potential.”

Middleton did just that. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, that wasn’t quite good enough to knock off the mighty Regents.

West finished with 42 points and edged Middleton (41) for the title. Madison Memorial was third (37) and Verona was fourth (33).

The key match came at No.1 doubles, where West’s Camille Vadas and Sophie Knigge downed Middleton’s Jessica Pientka and Noor Rajpal, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, for the title.

First place at each flight was worth eight points, while second was worth six. The four-point swing in that match allowed the Regents to surge past the Cardinals for the championship.

“I was really happy with our results,” Geurkink said. “It was a great tournament for us.

“When you go back to the start of the year, we didn’t have any singles players coming back. But we’ve figured some things out and have put together a heck of a team.”

That’s for sure.

Middleton notched three first place finishes, one second and two thirds during the thrilling, two-day tournament.

Cece Hujanen and Rose Ryan finished first at No. 2 doubles, while Nika Agapov and Anja Newcomer were first at No. 3 doubles. Julia Zhang, Middleton’s No. 4 singles player, also won a title at her flight.

Pientka and Rajpal played sensational tennis in finishing second at No. 1 doubles. And Karsen Dettman and MayLynn Hu, Middleton’s No. 2 and 3 singles players, both finished third.

“I think it’s really exciting,” Dettman said. “I think the team has gotten a lot better and we’re playing really good tennis right now.”

Hujanen and Rose certainly played terrific tennis.

The Cardinals’ standouts cruised into the finals with straight set wins over teams from Madison La Follette and Sun Prairie.

In the title match, Madison Memorial’s Meera Manoharan and Elizabeth Wu won the first set, 6-3. But Hujanen and Rose rallied back and captured the next two sets, 6-2, 6-2.

“We did not play our best in the first set,” Hujanen said. “But after the first set, we really came out strong. We really picked it up.”

Added Ryan: “I just really wanted to win … and I’m really happy how we played.”

Agapov and Newcomer had a relatively easy time of it at No. 3 doubles. The Cardinals’ pair cruised into the finals, then defeated Verona’s Hannah Bertrand and Zoe Qureshi, 7-5, 6-0.

At No. 4 singles, Zhang lost just eight total games in three matches. In the finals, Zhang defeated Verona’s Elsa Queoff, 6-0, 6-1.

Dettman, who teamed with Maddie Clark in doubles last year and finished second at state, moved to singles this year where the Cardinals were short of players. And Dettman had a strong performance at the conference tournament, defeating Verona’s Marey Saley, 6-4, 6-0, for third place.

“It was kind of a struggle to adjust to singles,” Dettman said. “Getting to the net where I’m best wasn’t easy. But I think I’m getting better.”

Hu also finished third thanks to her 7-5, 6-2 win over Verona’s Meghan Samz.

The match of the night, though, came at No. 1 doubles where Middleton’s Pientka and Rajpal simply wouldn’t fold.

After West’s Vadas and Knigge won the first set, the Regents’ duo had two match points in the second set. But Pientka and Rajpal fought back and won the set, 7-5.

West’s twosome raced to a 5-0 lead in the third set, before Pientka and Rajpal pulled within 5-3. But the Regents eventually prevailed, which helped give West the team title.

“It was a great effort by our girls,” Geurkink said. “I’m really proud of them.”

 

BIG EIGHT CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT

At Nielsen Tennis Stadium

Team scores — Madison West 42; Middleton 41; Madison Memorial 37; Verona 33; Sun Prairie 15; Janesville Craig 14; Madison La Follette 12; Madison East 5; Janesville Parker 4; Beloit Memorial 0.

No. 1 singles — Championship: M. Bremel, MW, def. Conley, V, 6-1, 6-4. Third place: Olson, MM, def. Bruemmer, SP, 7-5, 6-0. Fifth place: Rikimaru, ML, def. Sauser, JC, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 10-8. Seventh place: Agapov, Mid, def. Hoffman, ME, Semifinals: Bremel def. Olson, 6-4, 6-3; Conley def. Bruemmer, 6-0, 7-6 (3).

Consolation semifinals: Rikimaru def. Hoffman, 7-5, 6-0; Sauser def. Agapov, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 10-8.

No. 2 singles — Championship: Zhou, MM, def. A. Bremel, MW, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. Third place: Dettman, Mid, def. Saley, V, 6-4, 6-0. Fifth place: Hyzer, JC, def. Hyzer, JC, 7-5, 6-3. Seventh place: Katta, SP, def. Monat, ME, 6-1, 6-0. Semifinals: Zhou def. Dettman, 6-1, 7-5; A. Bremel def. Saley, 6-0, 6-1. Consolation semifinals: Hyzer def. Katta, 7-5, 6-3; Bischof def. Monat, 6-2, 7-5.

No. 3 singles — Championship: Remesh, MM, def. Lin, MW, 6-1, 6-0. Third place: Hu, Mid, def. Samz, V, 7-5, 6-2. Fifth place: S. Decorah, ME, def. Schmitt, ML, 6-0, 6-3. Seventh place: Fakthong, SP, def. Wolf, JC, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 13-11. Semifinals: Remesh def. Hu, 6-1, 6-0; Lin def. Samz, 6-0, 6-0. Consolation semifinals: Schmitt def. Wolf 6-3, 3-6, 10-4; S. Decorah def. Fakthong.

No. 4 singles — Championship: Zhang, Mid, def. Queoff, 6-0, 6-0. Third place: Friedman, MW, def. Ceballos, 6-0, 6-0. Fifth place: Zamber, ML, def. Yao, MM, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 11-9. Semifinals: Zhang def. Ceballos, 6-3, 6-0; Queoff def. Friedman, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Consolation semifinals: Yao def. Schmitz, SP, 6-3, 6-2; Zamber def. Decorah, ME, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

No. 1 doubles — Championship: Vadas/Knigge, MW, def. Pientka/Rajpal, Mid, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. Third place: Breitbach/Keyes, V, def. Liu/Jiang, MM, 6-3, 6-3. Fifth place: Schroeder/Grund, JC, def. Feldman/Dorn, SP, 4-6, 6-1, 10-8. Seventh place: Quade/Barnes, JP, def. Paulowski/Carroll, ME, 7-5, 6-1. Semifinals: Vadas/Knigge def. Breitbach/Keyes, 6-1, 6-1; Pientka/Rajpal, Mid, def. Liu/Jiang, MM, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. Consolation semifinals: Schroeder/Grund, JC, def. Paulowski/Carroll, 6-1, 6-1; Feldman/Dorn def. Quade/Barnes, 4-6, 6-1, 10-8.

No. 2 doubles — Championship: Hunanen/Ryan, Mid, def. Manoharan/Wu, MM, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Third place: Shanahan/White, SP, def. Oriel/Gallagher, MW, 6-3, 6-7 (0), 6-3. Fifth place: Porter/Barnes, JP, def. Breitbach/Kreuser, V, 6-4, 6-3. Seventh place: Feldhausen/Murphy def. Denu/Tullar, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 10-5. Semifinals: Hunanen/Ryan def. Shanahan/White, 6-4, 7-5; Manoharan/Wu def. Oriel/Gallagher, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-3. Consolation semifinals: Porter/Barnes def. Feldhausen/Murphy, 6-1, 7-5; Breitbach/Kreuser def. Denu/Tullar, 6-1, 6-2.

No. 3 doubles — Championship: Agapov/Newcomer, Mid, def. Bertand/Qureshi, V, 7-5, 6-0. Third place: Calle/Christianson, MW, def. Cai/Winyan, MM, 6-3, 6-1. Fifth place: Pehl/Baumeister, JC, def. Mott/Schwartzer, SP, 6-2, 7-5. Seventh place: Engle/McGlenn, ME, def. L. Burke/N. Burke, ML, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Semifinals: Agapov/Newcomer def. Cai/Winyan, 6-1, 6-4; Bertand/Qureshi def. Valle/Christianson, 7-5, 6-2. Consolation semifinals: Pehl/Baumeister def. Engle/McGlenn, 6-1, 6-4; Mott/Schwartzer def. L. Burke/N. Burke, 3-6, 6-2, 12-10.

 

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