By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
Sometimes, even in tennis, there is justice.
The Waseca girls went into the Class A state meet as the third-ranked team in the state. On Wednesday evening, when the tournament was over, the Bluejays had captured the third--place trophy.
“It was a good season and I’m really happy with how we did at state,” Waseca senior doubles player Bailey Krueger said. “It was a great way to end it.”
The Jays opened Wednesday’s play by losing 7-0 to eventual champion Blake in the semifinals. Krueger and No. 2 doubles partner Olivia McIntosh had a strong showing during the dual, losing by a score of 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) to Kate Fraley and Izzy Swanson.
Waseca rebounded from the semifinal loss to down Rochester Lourdes 6-1 in the third-place match.
Waseca’s only loss came at No. 1 singles as everybody else won in straight sets. Krueger and McIntosh won 7-5, 6-4.
“I thought Olivia and I played really well, we fought hard today,” Krueger said. “In our first match against Blake we knew we would have our hands full but we didn’t give up and we gave them a good run.
“In the third-place match we got off to a slow start but we picked up and started rolling. “I think it was awesome the way we finished.”
The Bluejays, who have become perennial entrants in the state tournament, completed their season with a 17-4-1 record. Krueger said she was confident the team would do well this fall.
“I believed in our team,” she said. “We had a lot of returning varsity players and we worked hard over the winter and during the summer. We were very optimistic and achieved just about all of our goals.
Waseca may have some rebuilding to do next season as it will graduate six seniors, including five who were in the starting lineup. The seniors are Abby Collins, Abbe Hoehn, Alicia Knoll, Shanly Nelson, Krueger and Shalee Eaton.
“It’s weird to think I’m done and I won’t have to go to tennis practice tomorrow,” Krueger said. “But the team will be good again next year. (Head coach Kyle) Collins always seems to find the right people to plug into the lineup.”
Class A State Tournament
Blake 7, Waseca 0
SINGLES: 1—Claire Carpenter (B) def. Abby Collins 6-1, 6-0; 2—Jane Fraley (B) def. Alicia Knoll 6-2, 6-4; 3—Libby Rickeman (B) def. Maddie Muotka 6-0, 6-2; 4—Lucy Nelson (B) def. Anna Hoehn 6-4, 6-1.
DOUBLES: 1—Maddy Hall & Abby Rickeman (B) def. Abbe Hoehn & Shanly Nelson 6-4, 6-1; 2—Kate Fraley & Izzy Swanson (B) def. Bailey Krueger & Olivia McIntosh 6-3, 7-6 (7-2); 3—Ellie Rudd & Amy Juang (B) def. Katie Tlusty & Maddy Knoll 6-4, 6-1.
Waseca 6, Rochester Lourdes 1
SINGLES: 1— Sofia Terzic (RL) def. Abby Collins 6-0, 7-6 (8-6); 2—Alicia Knoll (W) def. Rachel Kamath 6-1, 6-0; 3—Maddie Muotka (W) def. Lucy Hansen 6-2, 6-3; 4—Anna Hoehn (W) def. Sydney Allison 6-2, 6-3.
DOUBLES: 1—Abbe Hoehn & Shanly Nelson (W) def. Jessica Alexander & Rachel Morice 6-2, 7-6 (10-8); 2—Bailey Krueger & Olivia McIntosh (W) def. Grace Gorman & Elizabeth Hart 7-5, 6-4; 3—Katie Tlusty & Maddy Knoll (W) def. Ellen Gorman & Shannon Pedeson 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).