By Matthew Daivs
Fridley didn’t come away without wins at Class A state boys tennis, but the Tigers took the experience as a chance to strengthen their program.
Plus, it had been a long wait for the Tigers program to even see state.
“It was a pretty awesome feeling just knowing that this is the first time that we’ve gone in 35 years,” said Tigers No. 1 singles player and senior Jacob Roubal.
The Tigers fell 7-0 to Rochester Lourdes June 6 at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis. Luke Coelho and Leland Salter gave Rochester Lourdes its closest competition of the day in a 6-3, 6-3 loss for No. 1 doubles. Only Ben Stevenson and doubles tandem Skyler Larson and Andrew Stevenson scored a point in each set they played in 6-1, 6-1 losses. Niles Salter and doubles team Gabe Allen and Alex Herlofsky all took 6-0, 6-0 defeats. Roubal lost 6-1, 6-0 in No. 1 singles.
Rochester Lourdes went on to take third in the tournament.
“This is kind of an eye-opener for the guys that if you really want to be the best in the state, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” Fite said. “It just goes to show you that there’s still a lot of practice that we need to do as a team, and that we can’t take state appearances for granted.”
Fridley gave Crookston tougher go in the consolation semifinals later in the day June 6 before falling 4-3. Roubal lost No. 1 singles 6-1, 6-0 to Matt Garmen, but the Tigers got a singles win from Niles Salter over Logan Schultz 7-5, 5-7, 12-10 in No. 4 singles.
Coelho and Leland Salter won 6-4, 6-0 over Mitchell Olson and Logan Prudhomme in No. 1 doubles. Allen and Herlofsky pulled out second doubles 6-3, 7-6.
The Tigers dropped two three-set matches in the team loss. Nick Fite fell in No. 2 singles against Nick Garmen 6-1, 2-6, 10-5. At No. 3 singles, Larson and Andrew Stevenson fell 1-6, 6-2, 11-9 to Tom Cymbaluk and Jack Garmen.
“We honestly just got unlucky,” Coehlo said.
In the doubles tournament June 8-9, Leland Salter and Coelho won in three sets 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 to Layne Curtis and Dalton Schoeneman of Luverne. Coelho and Salter fell in the next round to Logan Scott and Jordan Ziwicki of Foley 6-1, 6-0. Scott and Ziwicki went on to finish third in the tournament.
Roubal and Fite also dropped their match in three against Cole Gillespie and Peter Zaviska of Thief River Falls 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Roubal and Fite then fell in the consolation bracket to Jon Madsen and Jordan Green of Litchfield 6-2, 6-7, 10-3.
Ben Stevenson drew No. 2 seed Joe Mairs of Blake in the singles tournament. Stevenson fell 6-0, 6-1 to Mairs, who took runner-up in the tournament. Stevenson took a loss in the consolation bracket 3-6, 6-3, 11-9 against Ben Kern of East Grand Forks.
Fridley finished the season at 10-7 as a team.