BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School girls tennis team dominated its first home showing of the season, sweeping Alexandria 7-0 and vanquishing Thief River Falls 6-1 in a triangular held at BHS.
Savannah Haugen, who finished first in the No. 1 singles tournament at the Pine City Power Tournament on Monday, continued her winning ways, finishing her match against Alexandria’s Rachel Wenger by a score of 6-0, 6-2.
Haugen was challenged by Thief River Falls’ Brooklyn Broddwell in the night portion of the triangular, but managed to prevail 6-1, 6-7, 10-6.
Haugen appreciated the normalcy of the home tournament and the ability to have fans by the courts to cheer the players on.
“It really helps that I think everyone feels a lot more back to normal. This is our first triangular in two years, actually, because last year we weren't allowed to play them,” Haugen said. “So I think it just feels really great to be back in the swing of things.”
Bemidji’s No. 3 doubles duo of Darby Neis and Madi Jensen similarly built on their championship success in Monday’s event, defeating pairs from Alexandria 6-0, 6-1 and Thief River Falls 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
Though the Lumberjacks had some team success at Pine City, finishing in third place among eight squads, head coach Kyle Fodness appreciated the overall growth the group made in two days’ time.
“We had some things to work on coming out of Pine City, and I thought everybody, when you come out and talk to them on changeovers, was really thoughtful and paying attention to what they needed to work on,” Fodness said. “It's always a mark of a good team that's been together for a while that I could kind of ask them, 'OK, what are we doing well? What do we need to work on?'
“And I had kind of what I was thinking, but they said it before I said it. And I think it's a credit to the team way more than anything I'm doing, because they are smart players and they listen very well. So really great credit to them. A lot of players coached themselves really well today.”
Fodness also opened up after Haugen’s match against Alexandria on the unique challenges of coaching a player as advanced and successful as she is.
“She can just take on some strategies that, I don't want to say someone else can't, but she has more strategies available to her than maybe some players,” Fodness said. “So the nice thing is we've kind of been in some of those matches now the last three years, so there's a little bit of just good communication there back and forth. So a lot of it's just playing to your strengths, and she has a lot of them, which makes it easy for her.
“But she does a good job. Everybody who comes up and plays her usually gives her their very best, because they know her record and they know who she is. So she has a lot of pressure on her every time she plays, but you wouldn't know it from watching her. I think one of the things that takes the pressure off her is she's such a team-oriented person. She just sees, how can my success help the team? And that I think takes some pressure off and is one of the reasons I think she's so good in those situations.”
A number of other players were also perfect for Bemidji on Thursday. Emily Dondelinger held down the No. 2 singles spot with 6-1, 6-2 and 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victories, while Anna Glen prevailed 6-2, 6-1 and 6-4, 7-6 (9-7) at No. 4 singles.
In top doubles, Chloe Hasbargen and Tatum Offerdahl were 6-0, 6-4 and 6-1, 6-7, 10-6 winners, while Paige Anderson and Abby Johnson were also perfect by scores of 6-0, 6-1 and 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 at No. 2 doubles.
Bemidji was also scheduled to host Eveleth-Gilbert on Thursday and Hibbing on Friday, but both matches were postponed due to rain. The team will be back in action at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 30, for a Pequot Lakes triangular.
Bemidji 7, Alexandria 0
No. 1: Haugen (BHS) def. Wegner 6-0, 6-2
No. 2: Dondelinger (BHS) def. Roush 6-1, 6-2
No. 3: Rupp (BHS) def. Halverson 6-0, 6-3
No. 4: Glen (BHS) def. Bitzan 6-2, 6-1
No. 1: Hasbargen/Offerdahl (BHS) def. Rolin/Latimer 6-0, 6-4
No. 2: Anderson/Johnson (BHS) def. Runge/Sunby 6-1, 6-1
No. 3: Jensen/Neis (BHS) def. Halvorson/Von Bargen 6-0, 6-1
Bemidji 6, Thief River Falls 1
No. 1: Haugen (BHS) def. Broddwell 6-1, 6-7, 10-6
No. 2: Dondelinger (BHS) def. Staar 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
No. 3: Wienen (TRF) def. Rupp 7-5, 3-6, 16-14
No. 4: Glen (BHS) def. Dagg 6-4, 7-6 (9-7)
No. 1: Hasbargen/Offerdahl (BHS) def. Flaagan/Novak 6-0, 6-0
No. 2: Anderson/Johnson (BHS) def. Johnson/Weets 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
No. 3: Jensen/Neis (BHS) def. Christianson/Hamre 6-2, 4-6, 6-4