Arrow netters open season at 2-1

Alyssa Enger

The 2022 Pipestone Area girls’ tennis campaign got off to an auspicious, although lengthy, start to the 2022 campaign Saturday in Pipestone, as the Arrows edged the visiting Benson Braves 4-3 in the first of two dual meets on the afternoon.

With the team score knotted at 3-all, the No. 1 doubles team of Madison Purdin and Alyssa Enger sealed the Arrows’ win with a marathon 4-6, 6-4, 10-2 (super tiebreaker) victory over Kya Oakes and Milgo Abdi.

“On the changeover I said, ‘we’re right there with them, let’s start over and keep doing what we know to do and critique the things we need to fix;’ and they started off that second set with all the confidence in the world,” Pipestone Area head coach Colin Hoppe said. “They were talking and coming up with a game plan, telling each other what they had to do – whether it was better groundstrokes or better net play. When they got to the third set, and due to us having another match to play, we decided it would be a super tiebreaker, I just said, ‘all right, this is where we really need to dig in and go for it,’ and they played absolutely amazing. Madison started it off with a beautiful first serve, and that gave them all the confidence to go on and win it.”

Although PAS No. 1 singles player Toryn Woelber struggled with her angles in a 2-6, 3-6 loss to Benson’s Elle Kletscher, the Arrows’ remaining trio of singles came out on top. Brielle Kulm recorded a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Elise Duncan at No. 2 singles, while Jenna Boeke (No. 3) and Vivian Brockberg (No. 4) also claimed straight-set victories in knocking off Molly Jones and Addie DeToy, respectively, by scores of 6-0, 6-4 and 6-3, 6-1.

“Those there were all really big wins for us, especially at Nos. 2 and 4,” Hoppe said. “Brielle is an insanely consistent player. Very few times have I had to walk over on a change over and ask her how it’s going. She has confidence, her groundstrokes are great and she’s able to stay consistent in her matches.

“Jenna had a big match against Benson, coming from the doubles world. She’s starting to understand singles, a bit of a learning curve in style, and even Vivian is still making those adjustments. For a freshman she is an amazing athlete and we could see her moving back-and-forth between singles and doubles.”

Despite giving up a lot in experience alone, the Arrows Nos. 2 & 3 doubles teams played well in defeat. Eighth-grader Jasmine Boeke and sophomore second doubles partner Alicia Haack battled back from a 1-6 loss in the opening set to a very respectable 2-5 loss in the second set versus Benson senior Alana Hettuer and sophomore partner Megan Anders. Likewise, the PAS third doubles team of sophomore Addison Draper and freshman Laura Minet yielded to the experience of junior tandem Arianna Nagler and Ella McBinty, 2-6, 4-6.

Brielle Kulm

“It’s the first match of the season and some of these girls are going from JV to varsity; Alicia Haack is going from her first year of tennis last season to playing No. 2 doubles with the varsity this fall,” Hoppe said. “She knows this isn’t going to be an easy matchup, but she’s willing to give it a shot. 

“For both of these doubles teams (2 & 3), across three matches, they’re 1-2 and I think they’re going to have a pretty good year.”

Unfortunately for the Arrows, their energy and luck ran out against Morris Area in the nightcap match Saturday evening – bowing out to the Tigers 2-5.

Kulm and Jenna Boeke scratched out Pipestone Area’s team markers in the Nos. 2 & 3 singles tilts. Kulm cruised past junior Chloe Zimmel in straight sets, 6-0, 6-4, while Boeke battled to a 7-5 victory in the opening set of her match with Liz Pollard before dispatching the senior with a 6-2 victory in the second.

In other singles action, Woelber dropped a 0-6, 1-6 match to MA senior Claire Stark at No. 1, and Brockberg lost a tight tilt to Izzy Hoffman at No. 4 – 4-6, 4-6.

The Tigers bossed the doubles matches Saturday evening. Karlie Bruns and Ashley Koehl claimed a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Enger and Purdin at No. 1, Lydia Fynboh and Nora Meek defeated Haack and Jasmine Boeke 6-2, 7-5 at No. 2 and Ellen Reed and Grace Hauglie beat Minet and Draper in the No. 3 match – 6-3, 6-2.

PAS 5, River Valley 2

The Arrows improved to 2-1 on the season with a victory over the River Valley Wildcats Monday evening in Sleepy Eye, sweeping the doubles tilts and claiming 2-of-4 singles matches.

Enger and Purdin got the ball rolling in the right direction from the start, knocking off RV’s junior tandem of Anna Rossbach and Gabby Anderson in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 at No. 1 doubles.

Although they had a tougher go of it, Jasmine Boeke and Haack followed suit at No. 2 doubles, claiming a 6-4, 6-3 victory over the Wildcats’ Kiera Lafferty and Jillian Mays. 

Draper and Minet did the rest in securing the doubles sweep, as the Arrows No. 3 duo dispatched Emma Contras-Ramirez and Cloe Okermann in straight sets – 6-0, 7-5.

In singles action, Woelber got off the schneid. After picking up the first set of her No. 1 singles match against Taylor Berkner, the Arrow senior offered the Wildcat leader just one more game – sealing her first victory of the season with a 6-1 win in the second set.

“It was big for Toryn to get a win; she looked like a different player than what we saw Saturday,” Hoppe said. “I think this will help her settle in better and I think she gained a lot of confidence with that match.”

At No. 2 singles, Kulm (3-0) continued to roll. The Arrow junior had to go the distance in the opening set of her tilt with RV’s Brissa Hernandez, winning it by tiebreak, 7-6 (4), before completing her third victory of the young campaign at 6-2 in the second.

Jenna Boeke and Brockberg weren’t as fortunate in the respective third and fourth singles matches. The former dropped to 2-1 on the season with a 2-6, 4-6 loss to RV’s Courtlyn Runck, while the latter bowed out to Erika Wells in straight sets – 0-6, 2-6.

The Arrows will be back in action in Pipestone on Thursday when they host the Montevideo Thunder Hawks (2 p.m.) and the Lac qui Parle Valley Eagles (4 p.m.).