Tuesday's showdown between New Richmond and Osceola for the Middle Border Conference girls tennis regular season title was set up when the Tigers defeated Durand and Baldwin-Woodville last week.
Osceola went into Tuesday's match with an undefeated MBC record. The Tigers' only MBC loss came in their opening match of the season, at Unity.
After the match with Osceola, the Tigers will be able to take a well-deserved rest. They will then turn their focus to the 2006 Middle Border Conference Tournament, which will be played next Tuesday at Durand High School.
The Tigers' hopes of getting to the showdown with Osceola were tested severely in their home match against Baldwin-Woodville last Thursday. The match was tied 3-3, with only the two doubles teams left on the court. Courtney Kvam and Ashley Peterson of New Richmond had lost the first set 6-1. They made a few adjustments to their approach after the first set and that was the difference. They rolled to 6-1, 6-0 wins in the final two sets, locking up the team victory.
"They were like a train, once they got going they were unstoppable," said Tiger coach Teresa Kvam. "I was really pleased with their shot selection."
Baldwin-Woodville has several top quality players, which coach Jim Rumpel moves around his lineup to get the best chance in each match. Rumpel loaded up his singles lineup for this match, with the Blackhawks taking the top three singles matches.
The Tigers answered by sweeping the doubles matches, plus getting a win at four singles by Maddie Frank.
Last Tuesday the Tigers scored a 5-2 win at Durand. Coach Kvam made some adjustments to the lineup for this match, switching the one doubles team and the two top singles players. Steph Anderson and Molly O'Flanagan switched over to singles, while Molly Heintz and Lauren Kvam handled one doubles.
For Anderson, this was her first-ever varsity singles match. Anderson put up a good battle, losing in three sets. O'Flanagan was able to produce a win at two singles. Heintz and Kvam took care of the one doubles match quite smoothly, with a 6-3, 6-2 win.
"They looked like they'd played together before," said Coach Kvam, who said the Durand doubles team thought they were playing a duo that had been playing together all season.
The two and three doubles teams only lost one total game in their two matches. Coach Kvam said their success comes from the girls playing both at the net for most of their points. She said by playing "two-up" at the net, it takes away the alley down the middle of the court that is left when doubles teams play the traditional one up, one back style.
"You're in an aggressive spot," Kvam said of the two-up approach. "It really lets us control the play."
Two D1 wins
This will be the second year that New Richmond competes in Division 1 in the WIAA girls tennis tournaments. The Tigers helped their seeding chances by beating a pair of Division 1 opponents in the Tigers' home quad meet on Saturday.
The Tigers opened Saturday's match facing Altoona, a Division 2 opponent. With nothing significant riding on this match, Coach Kvam put several reserves into the lineup. Altoona was able to score a 6-1 win. The lone Tiger win was notched by Anderson and O'Flanagan at one doubles.
The Tigers then focused on matches with Rice Lake and River Falls. First up was Rice Lake. The Tigers scored a 5-2 win, taking the top two singles matches and all three doubles bouts.
That led into an exciting match with River Falls, where nearly all of the matches were close. The score stood at 3-3, with only the one doubles teams on the court. River Falls won the first set, before the Tigers won the second set in a tie-breaker.
A super tie-breaker was used for the third set, with the first to 10 winning the set. River Falls got to an 8-6 lead. Anderson and O'Flanagan then rallied, winning four straight points to take the match. The rest of the Tigers went running out onto the court to celebrate the team victory.
New Richmond 4, Baldwin-Woodville 3
No. 1: Ali Fennern (B-W) def. Molly Heintz 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
No. 2: Sara Donohoe (B-W) def. Lauren Kvam 6-1, 6-4
No. 3: Michelle Joslin (B-W) def. Alyssa Luther 7-5, 6-4
No. 4: Maddie Frank (NR) def. Emily Voye 6-1, 6-1
No. 1: Steph Anderson and Molly O'Flanagan (NR) def. Melissa Moen and Cassie Rominski 6-2, 6-0
No. 2: Courtney Kvam and Ashley Peterson (NR) def. Kirsten Hoffman and Michelle Johnson 1-6, 6-1, 6-0
No. 3: Luanne Stai and Sami Kleiner (NR) def. Kristen Holman and Jessica Lorenz 6-2, 6-1
New Richmond 5, Durand 2
No. 1: Janie Hurlburt (D) def. Steph Anderson 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
No. 2: Molly O'Flanagan (NR) def. Amanda Becker 7-5, 2-6, 6-2
No. 3: Sara Knecht (D) def. Alyssa Luther 6-4, 6-1
No. 4: Maddie Frank (NR) def. Faith Danzinger 6-3, 6-3
No. 1: Molly Heintz and Lauren Kvam (NR) def. Kayla Berger and Lindsey Lien 6-3, 6-1
No. 2: Courtney Kvam and Ashley Peterson (NR) def. Kristen Berger and Jackie Johnson 6-0, 6-0
No. 3: Luanne Stai and Sami Kleiner (NR) def. Angelina Hutter and Amber Zierl 6-1, 6-0