The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

May 7, 2014

West tennis edges Tigers

Fedder, Townsend earn key singles victories in Big 9 win

MANKATO — Mankato West senior Mike Fedder did all the right things on Tuesday, and the result was a straight-set victory over Albert Lea’s Austin Dulitz at the West tennis courts.

The victory helped West take a 4-3 win over the Tigers in a Big Nine Conference matchup.

Fedder, a 6-foot-3, lanky player with a big wingspan, cruised through the first set 6-0, was ahead 4-1 in the second when he lost two straight games. The senior said the slump wasn’t due to a lack of focus.

“I had the lead, and I just decided to try some different things,” he said. “Once he got it to 4-3, I just went back to my previous plan. I stopped going for so much and started rushing the net again and I finished out the match.”

Fedder ended up winning 6-0, 6-3.

Fedder, who usually plays No. 1 doubles, said it’s been a frustrating season for the Scarlets. They’ve come close in a lot of meets but have dropped a lot of 4-3 decisions.

“We’re having trouble finishing,” Fedder said. “We need to get better at that. I think we’re in good shape to have a strong Big Nine Conference tournament.”

On Tuesday, the Scarlets picked up big wins from Kieran Townsend and from the No. 1 doubles team of Miki Mir and Calvin Miller.

Townsend downed Taylor Herfindahl 6-1, 6-3 at the top singles spot. Mir and Miller combined to knock off Collin Jahnke and Carter Dahl 6-3, 6-2.

West’s only other win came at second doubles. That’s where David Pietsch and Rolando Flores downed Garrett Matz and Foster Otten 6-4, 7-6.

The Scarlets nearly had another win at third doubles, but the tandem of Kier Oxnard and Paul Esslinger came up just short. The duo lost to Andy Woitas and Matt Carlson 2-6, 6-1, 10-8.

West has already clinched one of the top two seeds in the Southern Division of the Section 2AA team tournament. The outcome of Thursday’s meet with local rival Mankato East/Loyola will decide if West is first or second.

If East/Loyola wins, it will earn the top seed, but if it loses, there’s a chance it could drop all the way to third and Willmar could sneak into the No. 2 spot.

The West vs. East/Loyola is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the West courts.

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