BEMIDJI -- Hannah Nelson may have surprised her younger self on Friday when she clinched the Bemidji High School girls tennis team’s decisive fourth point with an ace.
“In past years, I really wouldn’t have said this, but my serve has been a lot more consistent,” the senior said. “I’ve really focused on that and worked on it during the summer program.”
Nelson and junior Nettie Kimble paired up for the Lumberjacks at the No. 2 position, where they won 7-5, 6-2 as part of a 5-2 team victory over Hibbing at BHS.
Though Friday marked just the fifth day of the regular season, Bemidji has already piled up four wins to show for it.
“End of a challenging first week of matches,” Jacks head coach Kyle Fodness said, “and the girls did a great job responding to the challenge. Hibbing is a very athletic team and played well.”
Tatum Offerdahl started a trend with the first win for Bemidji, sweeping Annika Lundell 6-0, 6-0 at second singles.
“Offerdahl set the tone with an early finish and a really well played match,” Fodness said. “Very sharp and consistent play considering (such a demanding week).”
Savannah Haugen followed closely behind at the top singles spot, disposing of Abigail Sullivan by a 6-1, 6-1 rout. Aftyn Schmidt kept things rolling at No. 3 singles by beating Kasey Jo Renskers 6-1, 6-2.
The Nelson-Kimble duo finished next for the team’s fourth point of the match, which Nelson said came easy with so many positive results behind them.
“It’s really nice,” she said of the team’s strong depth. “In past years, maybe we’ve had a little problem with the lineup. But we have a really strong lineup altogether.”
For good measure, Kylen Fenson and Bethany Chatterton added another point at No. 3 doubles. They defeated Maggie Zieske and Alyna Miller 6-0, 1-6, 10-6.
The Bluejackets ultimately scraped across two late points. Allie Bussey and Maddie Rewertz outlasted Alexis Leitner and Chloe Hasbargen 7-5, 4-6, 10-6 at No. 1 doubles, and Megan Bussey prevailed 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 10-7 over Emily Dondelinger, who battled leg cramps for much of her No. 4 singles match.
On the season, Nelson improves to 6-1 between second and third doubles.
“Just really knowing that we have the other team members to fall back on (gives us success),” she said. “They always have your back. It doesn’t really matter about the score. We’re out here to win, but also just for the team.”
Bemidji will put its unblemished record on the line when it travels to Pequot Lakes for a triangular that starts at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 26.
“It’s just really exciting,” Nelson said of the team’s fast start. “I’m really looking forward to hopefully getting a lot more wins.”
Bemidji 5, Hibbing 2
No. 1: Haugen (BHS) def. Sullivan 6-1, 6-1.
No. 2: Offerdahl (BHS) def. Lundell 6-0, 6-0.
No. 3: Schmidt (BHS) def. Renskers 6-1, 6-2.
No. 4: M. Bussey (HIB) def. Dondelinger 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 10-7.
No. 1: A. Bussey/M. Rewarts (HIB) def. Leitner/Hasbargen 7-5, 4-6, 10-6.
No. 2: Nelson/Kimble (BHS) def. C. Rewarts/Furin 7-5, 6-2.
No. 3: Fenson/Chatterton (BHS) def. Zieske/Miller 6-0, 1-6, 10-6.