SAVAGE -- Making its first state tournament appearance in 48 years, the Bemidji High School boys tennis team faced a tough challenge when it drew second-seeded Edina in the quarterfinals.
The Hornets lived up to their billing and knocked out the unseeded Lumberjacks in a 7-0 win Tuesday at the Class AA state team tournament hosted by Prior Lake High School in Savage.
“The guys did a good job. A lot of their opponents today from Edina are very good tennis players, very talented,” BHS head coach Kyle Fodness said. “You could tell that’s a year-round thing for them. They’re playing all the time.”
Four Edina players -- No. 2 Matthew Fullerton, No. 4 Oskar Jansson, No. 7 Otto Schreiner and No. 8 Nolan Ranger -- are ranked in the Class AA top 10, the most of any one team.
“We know we’re the underdogs,” Fodness said of the team’s mindset. “We know numbers-wise this is a pretty tough task. But we’ll just go out and let it rip.”
Temperatures on the courts nearly reached triple digits for the noon match.
The third doubles team of Max Harris and Jack McNallan pushed the Hornets hardest, taking Humza Chaudhri and Andy Aasen to a 12th game in set one. The Lumberjacks ultimately lost the set 7-5, 6-1.
“They really improved, both of them,” Fodness said. “Max has really improved and been very steady throughout the year. And Jack has really been working on his forehand and his serve. He played some great service games.”
Elsewhere in doubles, Michael Dickinson and Logan Jensen fell to Schreiner and Luke Westholder 6-2, 6-0 in the No. 1 match, while John McNallan and Casey Rupp dropped a 6-1, 6-1 match to Edward Revenig and Julian Thym in the No. 2 match.
Section 8AA singles champion Filippo Buffo held his own against Fullerton at No. 1 singles, but lost 6-0, 6-2.
“Filippo’s match was the longest 6-0, 6-2 match I’ve ever seen,” Fodness said. “It took forever because a lot of the points were so competitive.”
Jansson and Ranger each earned 6-0, 6-0 wins over Noah Johnson and Isaiah Cerven, respectively, at Nos. 2 and 3 singles. Andy Norman took the fourth singles match 6-0, 6-1 over Jacob Fuhrman.
Bemidji finishes with a record of 15-4 and as Section 8AA champions in one of the most memorable seasons in program history.
Buffo’s time at the state tournament isn’t over yet. The senior from Italy will open the Class AA individual state singles tournament at 8 a.m. Thursday, June 10, against Orono’s Matias Maule at Prior Lake High School.
Edina 7, Bemidji 0
No. 1: Fullerton (EDI) def. Buffo 6-0, 6-2
No. 2: Jansson (EDI) def. Johnson 6-0, 6-0
No. 3: Ranger (EDI) def. Cerven 6-0, 6-0
No. 4: Norman (EDI) def. Fuhrman 6-0, 6-1
No. 1: Westholder/Schreiner (EDI) def. Dickinson/Jensen 6-2, 6-0
No. 2: Revenig/Thym (EDI) def. Jo. McNallan/Rupp 6-1, 6-1
No. 3: Chaudhri/Aasen (EDI) def. Harris/Ja. McNallan 7-5, 6-1