by Eric Oslund
The Elk River tennis team hosted Centennial on May 4, in a match that would last for three and a half hours. Centennial came into this contest undefeated in conference play, and the winner would likely earn their way into the Conference Championship Crossover match later in the season.
The Elks had a strong day in singles play with Tyler Creelman routing his opponent in No. 1 singles play (6-1, 6-1). Stewart Morrell as the team’s No. 2 (6-2, 6-4) and Taiyo Larson as the team’s No. 4 (6-0, 6-1) would also record wins of their own.
Doubles play was a different story, though, as the Elks really had to battle for that fourth and final point. Centennial would take No. 1 doubles by scores of 6-1 and 6-1, and also come out on top in No. 2 doubles.
It all came down to the No. 3 doubles match where it was Matthew Gearou and Issac Hultberg taking the court for the Elks. It was a hard fought match from both sides, but in the end it was the Elks coming out on top.
“Isaac served so well, and Matthew probably played his best match of his career, and they needed every bit of it to finish the win,” head coach Randy Ronning said. “It was elation erupting on the courts and swarming Isaac and Matthew, and everyone happy for the outcome.”
That win put the Elks in the Championship match, which will likely be against Maple Grove.
But they couldn’t hang their hats on that win as they had three games quickly approaching against three very good teams on Saturday, May 6.
Their first match was against Duluth East, where the Elks were able to come away with another big 4-3 win, which will likely give them the No. 1 seed in their section.
Ryan Hermanson came up with a huge win for the Elks as the No. 2 singles player, and was followed by Morrell as the No. 4 singles, the pairing of Connor Bizal and Larson as No. 2 doubles, and then the pairing of Gearou and Hultberg once again getting the big win as the team’s No. 3 doubles.
Things would begin to unravel after that though, as the Elks would lose to St. Cloud Tech 5-2, and Eden Prairie 6-1.
“Six matches in five days against good teams is hectic, but should help prepare us for the playoffs that are only two weeks away,” Ronning said when everything was said and done. “All in all, it was a great week.”