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BOYS TENNIS: Seth Lindgren clinches 4-3 Bemidji win on his birthday

It was a productive day for the Lumberjacks overall, as they tested their mettle against one of the best Class A teams in the state.

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Bemidji senior Seth Lindgren hits a backhand volley on Thursday, April 28, 2022, at the BHS tennis courts.
Christian Babcock / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Seth Lindgren had a good birthday on Thursday.

The Bemidji High School boys tennis team senior was in a crucial position against Rock Ridge. With BHS leading the overall team competition 3-2, the Lumberjacks needed one more match win to seal the victory. Lindgren and third doubles partner Reed Johnson stepped up to the plate, notching a 6-2, 7-5 win to seal a 4-3 home victory for Bemidji.

“It’s got to be up there,” Lindgren said of where this birthday ranks. “We’ll say top five. Definitely one of the better birthdays.”

It was a productive day for the Lumberjacks overall, as they tested their mettle against one of the best Class A teams in the state. Going into the match, head coach Kyle Fodness knew it wouldn’t be easy – but he also knew his team could gain a lot from the experience.

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Bemidji freshman Reed Johnson hits a serve on Thursday, April 28, 2022, at the BHS tennis courts.
Christian Babcock / Bemidji Pioneer

“We had talked before the match, even as coaches, we just wanted it to be a 4-3 match either way,” Fodness said. “We have a lot of respect for their program. Their coaching staff was great, boys were great. And they competed really, really hard. We're happy that we came up with a win. But the most important thing in a match like that is you played a really good team and you hope you get better from it.”

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Lindgren and Johnson played a pivotal role in not only clinching the win, but plowing through some adversity to finish off a match that BHS needed for the overall victory.

“Just play every point,” Lindgren said of the duo’s mentality. “You’ve got to forget every other point leading up to (the current point), because if you remember all the mistakes, then you're just not going to play well. You're going to get in your own head. Every point’s a clean slate to do well.”

Bemidji (9-0) also dropped some tight matches, but going through the experience of making decisions under pressure will help the Jacks with other challenges later in the season.

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Bemidji senior Noah Johnson hits a forehand volley on Thursday, April 28, 2022, at the BHS tennis courts.
Christian Babcock / Bemidji Pioneer

“You’ve got to have those close matches to be ready to go,” assistant coach Garrett Goeden said. “Especially for the end of the year, because at the end of the year in playoffs, no team is going to be a walkover. You’ve got to be ready to go. You’ve got to be poised in those matches. So when you get a little bit of pressure, it really helps you out in the long run.”

The Lumberjacks’ doubles teams came up big on Thursday, earning a sweep to put Bemidji one singles win from the overall victory. Max Harris and Jacob Fuhrman led with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 1 doubles, with Aidan Larson and Jack McNallan getting a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 2. Coupled with Casey Rupp’s 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 4 singles and Lindgren and Johnson’s gutsy victory, the Jacks were able to pull it out.

Now, the focus shifts to growth in the pursuit of a second section title in two seasons.

“There's a lot of match-sense things that we need to work on,” Goeden said. “Deciding on which shot and when to hit it. Reading the other player and just taking advantage of the opportunities that you get. The whole game can get improved all the time. So it's something we'll keep focusing on in practice and building in scenarios, and they'll run with it for sure.”

Weather permitting, Bemidji will return to the court against Thief River Falls at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 29, at BHS.

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Bemidji 4, Rock Ridge 3

Singles

No. 1: Delich (RR) def. Benhamou, 6-2, 6-2

No. 2: Benz (RR) def. N. Johnson, 6-3, 7-5

No. 3: Bradach (RR) def. Jo. McNallan, 2-6, 6-2, 10-2

No. 4: Rupp (BHS) def. Buggert, 6-1, 6-3

Doubles

No. 1: Harris/Fuhrman (BHS) def. K. Ruedebusch/Lamppa, 6-4, 6-4

No. 2: Larson/Ja. McNallan (BHS) def. Manninen/Bialke, 6-1, 6-2

No. 3: Lindgren/R. Johnson (BHS) def. D. Ruedebusch/Boyd, 6-2, 7-5

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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