NEGAUNEE — Ishpeming’s Kaitlyn VanDeuren and Ava Jo Hares did something for only the second time against the Negaunee High School girls tennis team so far this season — win a set against the Miners.
The Hematites’ No. 4 doubles team won the first set against the Miners’ Emma Wills and Halle Palomaki, but the Negaunee duo bounced back to win their match and help the home team post another 8-0 meet victory.
That’s three straight 8-0 blankings, joining one posted against West Iron County on Monday and another against Westwood on Wednesday, to open the season for a suitably pleased but not overimpressed NHS head coach Kyle Saari.
“It’s a positive start, but we’re eager to clean up a few areas next week,” Saari said in an email reporting the result. “The (No.) 4 doubles match was one of the best I remember in a long time at that flight. All four girls are athletic and both sides hit with a purpose.”
Wills’ and Palomaki’s victory was by the count of 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6).
“Emma and Halle were down 6-3 in the (third set) tiebreak, fought off three match points, and went on to win 8-6,” Saari said. “We frequently talk about the traits you have to have to pull that off, and they answered the bell.
“All 12 (players) within our lineup have a lot of resilience and they’re not going to quit on anything.”
He was also happy about the 6-0, 6-0 win that his No. 3 singles player Rheana Nelson posted over Ishpeming’s Paige Palomaki.
“Rheana played a really smooth match and controlled many points today,” her coach pointed out. “Really, our entire singles lineup has done so throughout the week, which is encouraging.”
Miners’ No. 1 singles player Aubrey Johnson, No. 2 Lili Saunders, No. 4 Madalynn Peters and Nelson dropped just eight games over the seven sets they played, as one match was defaulted after the first set.
In doubles, Negaunee’s No. 1 Kallen Schultz and Maddie Frustaglio, No. 2 Sage Juntti and Olivia Lunseth and No. 3 Autumn Ring and Paityn Brunette won in straight sets. While there weren’t any 6-0 blankings, none let a set get closer than 6-3.
Ishpeming gets back in action in a three-team meeting that includes Ironwood at Gwinn on Monday morning, while Negaunee does the same with Menominee at Gladstone on Wednesday morning.
Marquette 6, Gladstone 2
On Thursday at Marquette, the home team used a sweep of doubles to offset a pair of losses in singles in their season opener.
That pleases MSHS head coach Karl Thomsen, considering the situtation his team is in.
“We’re in a transition year, we lost eight girls who saw significant time on the varsity squad last year to graduation,” the MSHS coach said in an email reporting the result. “Thankfully the rain held off, because I was really excited to see our girls, especially our new girls, fight it out with someone other than themselves.
“I really like where we are at as a team this early on in the year. All four doubles teams moved well on the courts and closed out points at the net when the opportunity presented itself.”
That includes the No. 1 doubles pairing of Lexi Hammerstrom and Payton Pleaugh, who pulled off a 6-4, 6-2 win over the Braves’ Montgomery Pepin and Reese Herioux.
“Lexi Hammerstrom and Payton Pleaugh … jelled together nicely as the match went on,” Thomsen said. “After being down early in the first set, they rolled off nine of the next 11 games to close out the match.”
He was also stoked about No. 3 singles player Maya Griffin and No. 4 Kyra Autio pulling off identical 6-0, 6-0 whitewashes. And he wasn’t unhappy with the showing of No. 2 singles player Lucy Stern, who lost a tough 6-4, 6-4 decision to Gladstone’s Addie Trombley.
“On the singles side of things, Maya Griffin and Kyra Autio played strong matches, and Lucy Stern at No. 2 singles, despite the loss, had an excellent showing in her first varsity match versus a tough opponent,” the coach said.
Marquette goes on an unusually tough road trip to start next week, playing at Kingsford at 11 a.m. EDT Monday, then heading west as soon as that match is over to play at West Iron County in Iron River at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is [email protected].