The last time Lakeland girls’ tennis played Medford, they fell in a close match. They responded in a big way on Thursday, keeping their undefeated conference record alive.
The Thunderbirds beat the Raiders 6-1 on Thursday. Then, playing in a tournament at Wisconsin Rapids, the Thunderbirds won two out of three on Saturday. They beat Assumption and River Falls, with a loss to Wisconsin Rapids in the middle.
After losing four of the seven matches in their last meeting in Wausau on Sept. 8, the Thunderbirds won six of the seven to take the dual victory.
“The girls did a great job against Medford. We’re super proud of them to go 6-1 to get those conference points. The big thing was they saw (Medford) down in the Wausau West tournament,” coach Tom Oestreich said. “They may have been not mentally ready. They were ready to play when we went to Medford, and they knew what they were up against. They were more mentally prepared in that match.”
Savannah Barton/Kristina Ouimette at No. 1 doubles fell in their first matchup to Masaeda Krug/Audrey Ruesch 2-6, 6-7 (5). On Thursday, they had to win a third set to take the match.
Savannah Barton/Ouimette won set one 6-2 before losing set two 1-6. They came back in set three to win 7-5 in another closely contested match.
Another Thunderbird that went from a loss to a win was Elise Lamers at No. 3 singles. Morgan Strebig beat Lamers 6-4, 6-3 on Sept. 8. Lamers redeemed herself.
Lamers won 6-2 in the first set. Like Savannah Barton/Ouimette, Lamers found herself in a tightly contested set. Lamers came out on top 7-5 to win the set and match.
The third Lakeland team that turned a Sept. 8 loss into a Sept. 14 win was No. 3 doubles Alyssa Erickson/Lila Biller. Madison Clarkson/Makenna Tlusty won 6-3, 6-3 in the prior matchup. Erickson/Biller made sure that wasn’t the case on Thursday.
Erickson/Biller won 6-1, 6-3 over a different pair of Clarkson/Hannah Dahl.
Sarah Barton (No. 1 singles) and Norah Strasburg (No. 2 singles) took care of business. Sarah Barton won 6-1, 6-0 over Marcy Razink. Strasburg beat Jaylin Machon 6-2, 6-2.
The last time that No. 2 doubles duo Charley Cleveland/Ali Timmerman played Medford, they needed to win in a third set tiebreaker. The Lakeland duo won again, this time in two sets at 6-3, 7-5 over Grace Holmes/Indya Mann.
There were four sets where the final score finished at 7-5. Lakeland went 3-1 in those sets.
“Something we’ve been preaching all season is that mental toughness. (They had) a little chip on their shoulder,” Oestreich said. “They were ready to play and our mental toughness came out.”
Ellie Baker fell 5-7, 0-6 at No. 4 singles to Natalie Preuss, Medford’s only win of the meet.
Playing three matches in one day, the Wisconsin Rapids Invite helped the Thunderbirds prepare for the GNC Tournament later this week.
“This is our last tune-up before the conference tournament because the girls could potentially play three matches that day,” Oestreich said. “Their bodies get used to it, their minds get used to it, and hopefully it helps them going into the conference tournament.”
Lakeland’s first match came against Assumption. The Thunderbirds won 5-2.
No. 1 singles Sarah Barton, No. 2 doubles Cleveland/Timmerman and No. 3 doubles Biller/Erickson all won 6-0, 6-0 against their opponents.
Strasburg picked up a win at No. 2 singles over Kara Drewiske by a 6-0, 6-3 score. Ellie Baker won 6-3, 7-5 at No. 4 singles over Haley Hintz.
At No. 1 doubles, Savannah Barton/Ouimette ran into a little trouble when they played Sarah Shaw/Addi Vollert. Assumption was good at the net, leading them to a 4-6, 7-5, 10-7 comeback win.
“For most of the girls, a decent little tune-up. (No.) 1 doubles ran into a good team,” Oestreich said. “(No.) 1 doubles (made) too many mental errors hitting the ball to the girl at the net every time. I think the girls learned form that the first match of the day. Hopefully that helps them going forward.”
Wisconsin Rapids won a close match 4-3.
“Rapids was a very solid team, kind of equal to us. I think sometimes we struggle when we don’t know a team well. They definitely had some good players,” Oestreich said.
Cleveland/Timmerman faced adversity and played with mental toughness in a win vs. Jenna Wentland/Julia Krueger. Losing 4-6 in set one, Cleveland/Timmerman bounced back with a 6-4, 10-7 win.
Baker moved up from No. 4 singles to play at No. 3 singles. Baker had no problem with the transition, beating Chloe Trzebiatowski 6-3, 6-2. Lamers got a forfeit win at No. 4 singles.
“(We put) Ellie in there because she’s been doing an awesome job this year,” Oestreich said.
No. 1 singles Sarah Barton played a high quality opponent in Hayley Jensen. Both players got swings in, with Jensen winning 6-0, 6-4.
“Sarah played very solid, a good match for Sarah — a lot of good hitting,” Oestreich said.
Strasburg fell 5-7, 1-6 to Sydney Holberg at No. 2 singles.
Cleveland/Timmerman were the only doubles team to win for Lakeland. Savannah Barton/Ouimette lost their second match of the day by a 4-6, 3-6 score at No. 1 doubles. No. 3 doubles Biller/Erickson won the first set 6-3 before falling 2-6, 10-12 in a close tiebreaker.
“Nice job by Ali/Charley pulling out a tiebreaker, showing their mental toughness,” Oestreich said.
Lakeland ended the day on a positive note with a 6-0 win over River Falls.
“Nice way to end their day on a positive note for the girls. Everybody got a win there. They took what they learned during the day and applied it,” Oestreich said. “These matches on a tournament day — it comes down to taking care of your body, mental toughness and our girls showed they really had that.”
This time, Lamers moved up a spot to No. 2 singles. She picked up a win over Anya Caliva 6-3, 6-3. Baker played her second straight match at No. 3 singles, winning 7-5, 6-4. Baker ended up going 3-0 on the day. Sarah Barton won 6-1, 6-0 over Maya Peterson at No. 1 singles.
The other Lakeland team to go 3-0 in their three matches was No. 2 doubles Cleveland/Timmerman. It didn’t come easy, as they won 6-7 (4), 6-2, 11-9 in a tight tiebreaker.
No. 1 doubles Savannah Barton/Ouimette beat Avery Tokheim/Addison Reisdorfer for their first win of the day. Lakeland won 6-2, 6-1.
Biller/Erickson won their second match of the day at No. 3 doubles, beating Adisyn Brown/Alyssa Moelter 6-0, 6-1.
Up next, the Thunderbirds (12-4, 6-0) look to go undefeated in conference dual play with a meet against Rhinelander today at the LUHS tennis courts in Minocqua. The meet starts at 4:30 p.m. On Thursday, the Thunderbirds travel to Rhinelander for the GNC Tournament.
“This week we’ll work on cleaning up little things, some little swing mechanics to work on,” Oestreich said. “We’ll focus on that Rhinelander match and when that’s over, we’ll start focusing on the conference tournament.”
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].