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Playing first singles Abbey Kelm faced a very tough East Grand Forks opponent on Wednesday afternoon.

Lumberjacks: Bemidji gains valuable experience in win over EGF, loss to Grand Rapids

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BEMIDJI -- It is still very early in the season and the Bemidji girls tennis players continue to gain valuable experience and are learning what it takes to play at the varsity level.

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The latest lessons came Thursday when BHS hosted East Grand Forks and Grand Rapids. The Jacks took care of business against the Green Wave and cruised to a 6-1 win. Against the Thunderhawks, however, Bemidji fell 4-3.

In the match with the Green Wave BHS coach Mark Fodness mixed his lineup, elevating Abbie Kelm to first singles, Taylor Offerdahl to third singles and Nikki Anderson-Weir to fourth singles while moving Finja Mahl to second singles. Kelm, Mahl and Anderson-Weir all won their matches in straight sets and Offerdahl dropped her match in a third set tiebreaker.

The revamped singles lineup strengthened the doubles teams and the Lumberjacks used that dominance to win all three matches. Mattie Osborn and Alexis Konecne teamed for a 6-0, 6-0 victory, Sam Edlund and Sarah McNallan cruised 6-3, 6-2 and Shelby Eichstadt combined with Laura Palmer for a 6-0, 6-0 triumph.

"We had a nice win over East Grand Forks in the first round," Fodness said. "We continue to juggle the lineup to find combinations and options that will benefit us down the road. We challenged the girls to play at a high level throughout their matches and, overall, I thought everyone did a good job."

The lineup changes continued against Grand Rapids as Palmer handled the fourth singles duties the coach altered his doubles alignment.

Mahl, Kelm and Konecne resumed their singles spots and each won in straight sets. Palmer played well, according to her coach, but fell 6-2, 6-0.

"That score doesn't look close but Laura was in almost every game and it was a great experience for her," Fodness said.

In the doubles action, BHS needed to win at least one match and the Jacks almost did at third doubles where Anderson-Weir and Offerdahl were edged 5-7, 6-4, (12-10).

Edlund and Osborn played at first doubles and McNallan teamed with Sam Edlund at second.

"We couldn't quite pull off a win at doubles," Fodness said. "At third doubles Nikki and Taylor hadn't played together before but they won the first set and dropped a close second set. The third set tiebreaker went back and forth and we had a chance to win when we were up 10-9. But Grand Rapids came back.

"The girls were playing under pressure with everyone on the fence cheering for every shot. Even though we lost, the girls fought hard and will become better because of the experience they gained in this match," Fodness added.

The Lumberjacks, 6-1, are off until Sept.4 when they host Eveleth-Gilbert.

Bemidji 6, East Grand Forks 1

Singles

Kelm (B) def. Jones 6-1, 7-5

Mahl (B) def. E.Dietrich 6-0, 6-2

Loven (EGF) def. Offerdahl 6-4, 5-7, (10-2)

Anderson-Weir (B) def. Strezishar 6-3, 6-3

Doubles

Osborn and Konecne (B) def. Van Eps and Burris 6-0, 6-0

S.Edlund and McNallan (B) def. Cremers and J.Dietrich 6-3, 6-2

Eichstadt and Palmer (B) def. Boyum and Partlow 6-0, 6-0

Grand Rapids 4, Bemidji 3

Singles

Mahl (B) def. Dulong 6-1, 6-0

Kelm (B) def. Illikainen 6-2, 6-4

Konecne (B) def. Madsen 6-0, 6-2

Reitter (GR) def. Palmer 6-2, 6-0

Doubles

Kane and Wagner (GR) def. E.Edlund and Osborn 6-1, 6-1

Lindner and Weichnik (GR) def. McNallan and S.Edlund 6-3, 6-4

Reibel and Drobnick (GR) def. Anderson-Weir and Offerdahl 5-7, 6-4, (12-10)

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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