The Wadena-Deer Creek girls tennis team closed its season with a 5-2 defeat against the Perham/New York Mills Yellowjackets at the Section 8A quarterfinals at Courts Plus in Fargo on Oct. 10.
While the 5-2 defeat isn't exactly what the Wolverines were hoping for, it does show progress against one of the top teams in the section. Perham/New York Mills was eventually defeated by state-ranked Thief River Falls in the Section 8A Championship. A couple of weeks prior, the Yellowjackets defeated the Wolverines 7-0 in a dual meet.
"I thought top to bottom, we came in,competed hard and fought to the final point," Wadena-DC head coach Jordan Cresap said. "We knew we were up against it against a strong Perham/NYM team. Our main focus was to loosen up and play like we had nothing to lose, play our best and play our hardest and be there for each other and whatever happens happened. Credit to Perham/NYM, they are a solid team. It's always a tough match, but the best part is the mutual respect that the players have for each other and the coaches have for each other."
The Wolverines were able to win a pair of matches at No. 1 singles with Madison Packer and No. 2 singles with Corra Endres. Both players won a pair of marathon matches with Packer defeating Jade Lenius. Packer won the match 6-4, 6-4. Her battle with Lenius featured several long rallies between the two with Packer outlasting Lenius in the end. Endres went three sets with Kiera Radniecki and earned a 6-3, 3-6, 10-6 victory.
"Jade (Lenius) and Kiera (Radniecki) are very tough and seasoned players. We knew it was going to be tough. I thought Corra came back and responded really well after a tough second set. To come back in the third set and play like she did says a lot about her mental toughness," Cresap said. "Packer is the energy bunny. She never gives up on any points on any game. Her all out effort is an absolute joy to watch and coach. We are kind of lucky to have someone like her to be a leader by example. That's a good win for her going into the individual section tournament."
Cresap said the team has taken some big steps. He said the team has taken the little victories and positives from each event and building on them.
"If we continue to do that, we will continue to get better. No matter how many matches we are winning or losing, it doesn't matter, as long as we are improving as a group and that's all you can ask for going into next year and do the same thing," Cresap said. "When you have a whole group that's improving, the victories will take care of itself. It's been fun to coach a team that's believed in that and has that same day-by-day approach."
Cresap said it was nice to hear opposing coaches talk to him about how the team has progressed and how they played during the season.
"It says a lot about the character of our girls. It's tough to come in and play a two-seed and it's tough to have a positive mindset and attitude," Cresap said. "It was one of our better weeks of practice. You wouldn't blame a team for packing it in and you could see it happening, but this is a team that just believed and fought hard to the end."
The Yellowjackets earned wins at No. 3 and No. 4 singles when JoJo Winkels defeated Libby Hartman and Mallory Belka knocked off Genevieve Pinella.
Malia Groff and Mirta Vorderbruggen defeated Ashley Peterson and Kaylee Ova at No. 1 doubles, while Avery Beachy and Kendra Moris edged out Nevada Schulz and Katie Fiemeyer. LaVonne Lindberg and Maggie Trites defaeted Madelyn Gallant and Kayla Meeks at No. 3 doubles.
Packer and Hartman, along with the doubles teams of Peterson/Ova and Schulz/Fiemeyer will play in the Section 8A Individual singles and doubles tournament on Oct. 16 and 17 at Courts Plus in Fargo.