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Mattie Kidder advances to WIAA Division 1 sectional tournament

New Richmond’s Emma Bakke shakes hands with her opponent following the completion of one of her matches in the Middle Border Conference Tournament last week. 1 / 2
Gabby Kupke was half of the sister duo who played three doubles for the Tigers this season, joining her sister Brianna in the pairing. 2 / 2

New Richmond senior Mattie Kidder will represent the Tigers in Thursday’s WIAA Division 1 girls tennis sectional tournament at Eau Claire Memorial.

Kidder was the second seed in the one singles bracket in the New Richmond Division 1 subsectional tournament on Monday. She needed to win one match to advance and she did that, defeating Megan Walsh of Rice Lake 6-3, 6-2.

Kidder will face the winner of the third seed match from Monday’s Stevens Point subsectional tournament. If Kidder wins her first match on Thursday, she will qualify for the WIAA state meet.

Kidder takes a 19-4 record into the sectional tournament. After struggling a bit in the recent Middle Border Conference tournament, Kidder came back strongly in Monday’s tournament.

“Mattie played excellent,” said Tiger coach Denise Devereux. “She was aggressive, she was attacking the net.”

Devereux said Walsh was hitting every shot as hard as she could, trying to prevent Kidder from moving up to the net. That wasn’t enough to stop Kidder, who is at her best when she can use her long wingspan to make plays at the net.

The only other match won by the Tigers was a play-in match at three doubles. The Kupke sisters, Brianna and Gabby, were seeded eighth, and they defeated ninth seeded Superior 6-3, 6-3. Unfortunately, that put them up against the top-seeded team from Eau Claire Memorial. The Old Abes won that match 6-0, 6-1.

Memorial was the top seed in every flight in the tournament. The Old Abes played true to their seeding, winning every match to lead the team point total with 24. Hudson was in second place with 20.

Though the Tigers were beaten in all their other opening matches, most of those were close contests. Christian Weaver lost a three-set match at two singles. She opened with a 7-5 win, but was beaten 6-2, 6-2 in the final two sets.

Emma Bakke was the sixth seed at three singles. She gave Rice Lake’s Gloria Brown a battle, but lost 7-5, 6-4. Maya Dadez was defeated by Rice Lake’s Lauren Shomion in the four singles bracket 6-1, 6-2.

One of the Tigers’ most spirited efforts of the day came at one singles, where Blaire Ziebol and Kaitlynn Belisle were the fifth seed. They drew a Chippewa Falls team who’d beaten them twice already this season. That didn’t deter the Tigers in the least. Ziebol and Belisle won the first set 6-4. Chippewa Falls took a lengthy second set 6-4, before winning the third set 6-3.

“They played to the best of their ability,” Devereux said of Ziebol and Belisle.

New Richmond’s two doubles team of Emily LaPorte and Kjrsten Faaren was the sixth seed, but they also were within reach of pulling off an upset. They won the opening set on a 10-8 tie-break win and they were ahead 3-2 in the second set. Rice Lake then caught fire, winning the final two sets by 6-3, 6-3 scores.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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