by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Elk River-Zimmerman gave a strong Minnetonka team a battle before losing 4-3 on Saturday, with two of the losses going three sets.
The Elks (12-2), who also beat Duluth East and Monticello by 7-0 scores in the home invitational, came into the match ranked No. 5 in the metro area. Their only other loss was to top-ranked Wayzata 6-1. Minnetonka was not ranked, but Elk coaches expected them to be ranked next week.
“They (Minnetonka) were as good as any team we have played this year, and we played well, just a bit short of finishing the victory,” said Elk coach Randy Ronning. “Minnetonka has a great coach and players and they have a lot of class, so it was a very enjoyable experience.”
The score was 3-3 with only No. 2 doubles left on the court, where Dylan Berger and Jesse Bragg split the first two sets against Will Lindfors and Jason Gutierrez. With all the other players and fans watching and cheering every point, the Skipper duo prevailed 6-3.
“We lost two three-setters, so any one of them would have given us the match,” said Ronning. “We won our three points in straight sets, so each team won a total of eight sets, but they got the match by a nose.”
Mitchel Brandell at No. 3 won the first set against Parker Duda, firing bullets, but Duda, who played No. 2 for Wayzata last year, started blocking the Elk’s powerful shots and found a way to win the next two sets.
Minnetonka’s No. 8 ranked Michael Tebon was pushed hard by Elk eighth-grader Sam Gearou but would not budge, winning 6-1, 6-1.
Elk straight-set winners were Sam Gearou and Ryan Ness and No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, and Nathan Chanthamontry and Logann Bruns at No. 2 doubles. Ness trailed 5-2 before winning 11 of the next 12 games.
The Elks will host Anoka on Tuesday.
Elks 7, Monticello 0
(1) Sam Gearou, ERZ, def Aaron Jacobson 6-0, 6-0
(2) Josh Gearou, ERZ, def Jack Fair 6-0, 6-0
(3) Josh Chuba, ERZ, def Cody Black 6-0, 6-0
(4) Jesse Bragg, ERZ, def Paul Fair 6-0, 6-0
(1) Mitchel Brandell-Ryan Ness, ERZ, def Noah Biasco-Tyleer Antony 6-1, 6-1
(2) Zak Steichen-Dylan Berger, ERZ, def Joel Anderson-Brad Wern 6-2, 6-0
(3) Nathan Chanthamontry-Logann Burns, ERZ, def Caylon Doyle-Michael Kociemba 6-1, 6-0
Elks 7, Duluth East 0
(1) Josh Gearou, ERZ, def Bauer LaSavage 6-4, 6-0
(2) Sam Gearou, ERZ, def Michael Caliberte 6-0, 6-0
(3) Mitchel Brandell, ERZ, def Martin Schneider 6-0, 6-0
(4) Nathany Chanthamontry, ERZ, def Alex Anderson 6-0
(1) Ryan Ness-Josh Chuba, ERZ, def Greg Peckham-Kevin Seiler 6-3, 6-1
(2) Zak Steichen-Dylan Berger, ERZ, def Peder Norr-Daniel Nelson 6-4, 6-1
(3) Jesse Bragg-Steve Delain, ERZ, def Keegan Haherty-Brendan Berry 6-2. 6-4
Minnetonka 4, Elks 3
(1) Michael Tebon, Min, def Sam Gearou 6-1, 6-1
(2) Josh Gearou, ERZ, def Joe Richards 6-4, 6-2
(3) Parker Duda, Min, def Mitchel Brandel 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
(4) Ryan Ness, ERZ, def Alex Smith 7-5, 6-1
(1) Ben Hogan-Brad Touney, Min, def Josh Chuba-Zak Steichen 6-2, 6-4
(2) Will Lindfors-Jason Gutierrez, Min, def Dylan Berger-Jesse Bragg 6-3, 6-7, 6-3
(3) Nathan Chanthamontry-Logann Burns, ERZ, def Jackson Baril-Eric Weidner 6-4, 7-6