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GIRLS TENNIS: Jacks find closure after reaching state tournament

Bemidji's run to state reached the finish line on Tuesday, as BHS fell 7-0 to Rochester Mayo and 6-2 to Maple Grove in the Class AA state team tournament. But head coach Kyle Fodness said that the final scores didn’t necessarily reflect the team’s level of play.

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The Lumberjacks come together during the Class AA state team tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. (Contributed)

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kyle Fodness called it a sequel.

The Bemidji High School girls tennis team is fresh off back-to-back Section 8AA team championships, but Tuesday marked the first time since 2008 that the Lumberjacks competed at state.

After last season’s state tournament was canceled due to the pandemic, Fodness’ returning lineup finally had its moment to compete on Minnesota’s highest court.

“Last season felt a little unfinished,” Fodness said. “Their big accomplishment was also kind of a big disappointment last year. You win the section, but there was (no state). This was a great way to wrap that up. Kind of like a sequel. You wrap that story up, where you get to finish off down at state against some great competition.”

The run to state reached the finish line on Tuesday, as BHS fell 7-0 to Rochester Mayo and 5-2 to Maple Grove in the Class AA state team tournament in Minneapolis.

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The Spartans swept Bemidji in the quarterfinals, then the Crimson ended the Jacks’ team season in the consolation semifinals.

But Fodness said that the final scores didn’t necessarily reflect the team’s level of play.

“The girls belong here,” he said. “If you walk up and down the courts, you see a lot of competitive matches, a lot of competitive play. That’s a really fun experience. It’s great to go out on a day like that.”

Against Rochester Mayo, Bemidji’s No. 1 doubles pairing of Tatum Offerdahl and Chloe Hasbargen pushed their opponents to the brink. They ultimately lost 6-4, 5-7, 10-5, but their work generated the only three-set score of the match.

Offerdahl and Hasbargen took the next step in the second match of the day, beating their top doubles adversaries from Maple Grove by a 6-3, 6-3 margin. Emily Dondelinger also won at No. 2 singles, pulling off a 6-2, 6-3 victory.

Bemidji’s No. 1 singles rep Savannah Haugen lost 6-2, 6-0 to Maple Grove’s Zoe Adkins, the top-ranked player in the state.

“The second match against Maple Grove was really a great, fun match for us to play,” Fodness said. “It was great to get a couple wins and great to know, with a little work, a little improvement, you could argue that we could’ve had a couple more. … All you can ask, a win or a loss, is to go out on a great match. And that was a really great match against Maple Grove.”

Bemidji graduates six seniors in Paige Anderson, Natalie Bahr, Abby Johnson, Hasbargen, Offerdahl and Haugen. Haugen will close her career with the Class AA individual tournament, beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 28, back in Minneapolis.

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Rochester Mayo 7, Bemidji 0

Singles

No. 1: C. Loftus (RM) def. Haugen, 6-1, 6-0

No. 2: Julsrud (RM) def. Dondelinger, 6-1, 6-0

No. 3: A. Loftus (RM) def. Rupp, 6-0, 6-2

No. 4: Diehn (RM) def. Glen, 6-1, 6-4

Doubles

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No. 1: Iyer/Aney (RM) def. Offerdahl/Hasbargen, 6-4, 5-7, 10-5

No. 2: Ruskell/Ryder (RM) def. Johnson/Anderson, 6-0, 6-0

No. 3: Colby/Dozois (RM) def. Neis/Jensen, 6-3, 6-1

Maple Grove 5, Bemidji 2

Singles

No. 1: Adkins (MG) def. Haugen, 6-2, 6-0

No. 2: Dondelinger (BHS) def. Parker, 6-2, 6-3

No. 3: Bakke (MG) def. Rupp, 6-1, 6-0

No. 4: Ode (MG) def. Glen, 7-5, 6-4

Doubles

No. 1: Offerdahl/Hasbargen (BHS) def. Kalinsky/Uppala, 6-3, 6-3

No. 2: Larsen/Smith (MG) def. Johnson/Anderson, 6-2, 6-1

No. 3: McGraw/Spratt (MG) def. Neis/Jensen, 6-4, 6-2

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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