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Tennis: Raiders play five matches in five days

The Hastings boys' tennis team spent last week clearing the tennis courts of snow in preparation for last Thursday's match against St. Thomas Academy. Photo courtesy of Mick Willette1 / 2
The players shoveled off the courts, hauled snow outside of the facility, moved snow into the sun to melt and even had to break up patches of ice. Photo courtesy of Mick Willette2 / 2

The Hastings boys' tennis team took action into their own hands in the aftermath of the most recent snowstorm. The Raiders knew they had a match on Thursday, April 19, and they also knew that the courts by Hastings High School would not be ready in time. So in the days preceding their match against St. Thomas Academy, the team spent their time shoveling and removing snow from the courts, an effort they were rewarded for by being able to play their Thursday match, and several more in the following days.

Hastings played five matches in five days over this past weekend. They beat St. Thomas Academy at home last Thursday after removing the snow, 6-1. Two days later they traveled to East Ridge where they fell to the Raptors, 6-1, beat Woodbury, 4-3, and swept Park, 7-0, in the South Washington County Tournament. On Monday, April 23, they beat Burnsville at home, 5-2.

"The boys played very solid tennis (Thursday)," head coach Michael Willette said. "The real story is how hard the guys worked shoveling all week to get seven courts ready to play outside on a gorgeous spring day."

"We used sleds and bins and shovels to haul drifts of snow outside the tennis fences," he continued. "Then we strategically moved snow from shady parts of the courts to sunny parts of the courts to let the sun do its work. (We) had to use spade shovels and a variety of other tools to break up the ice at times, too. It was quite a process, but a great show of teamwork and planning. Actually, (it was) excellent prep for getting the boys physically and mentally tough for matches."

Against the Cadets, the Raiders took three of four singles matches and swept doubles. Sophomore Colby Zak won No. 1 singles 6-2, 6-0 while senior Grant Hollar lost No. 2 singles 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(2). Senior Brandon Kurilla won No. 3 singles 6-3, 6-0 and junior James Scharr took No. 4 singles 6-2, 7-5. In doubles, the three Hastings teams only gave up a total of seven points. Senior Joe Zak and junior Carson Konrady won No. 1 doubles 6-0, 6-1. Senior John Rupp and junior Eric Howd took No. 2 doubles 6-0, 6-2 and the No. 3 doubles team of juniors Brian Nielsen and Matt Schlottman won 6-2, 6-2.

The East Ridge Raptors have been the Raiders nemesis these past few years. They beat Hastings in the first match of last year's regular season and then eliminated them in the section finals last year to go to state. The Raiders were unable to get revenge this time around, though, as the No. 1 doubles team of Joe Zak and Rupp notched Hastings only win in an extremely close match 5-7, 7-6(6), 10-7.

They faced a close match against the Woodbury Royals but the Raiders won 4-3. Colby Zak won 6-2, 6-1, Kurilla prevailed 6-4, 6-1 and Hollar won No. 3 singles 6-1, 6-4. Scharr fell in No. 4 singles 7-6(5), 2-6, (11-9). Hastings only managed one doubles win from Joe Zak and Rupp once again. They took No. 1 doubles 6-2, 6-1. Nielsen and senior Decker Whyle lost No. 2 doubles 6-4, 7-5 and senior Zach Johnson and junior Carter Teegarden fell in No. 3 doubles 6-4, 6-2.

In the final match against Park, each singles and doubles match was a single set to 10. Colby Zak won 10-9(5), Kurilla won 10-0, Hollar prevailed 10-2 and Scharr took the last singles match 10-4. In doubles Joe Zak and Konrady won 10-1 and Rupp and Howd 10-4, while Nielsen and Whyle won 10-3.

In the match on Monday against Burnsville, the Raiders and Blaze split singles 2-2 but Hastings swept doubles. Colby Zak fell in No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-1 and Kurilla lost 6-0, 6-1 in No. 3 singles. Hollar won No. 2 singles 6-1, 6-2 and Scharr took No. 4 singles 7-6, 6-1.

Joe Zak and Konrady won No. 1 doubles 6-2, 6-3 and Rupp and Howd cruised in No. 2 doubles 6-2, 6-1. Nielsen and Schlottman won No. 3 doubles 6-1, 7-5. Senior Ben Ascheman and Whyle won an exhibition doubles match 4-6, 6-4, (10-3).

The Raiders hosted Simley on Tuesday, April 24, go to Henry Sibley on Thursday, April 26, and then have a road trip to St. Cloud Tech on Friday and then play Virginia in St. Cloud on Saturday.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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