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New Richmond boys tennis wins twice in Eau Claire Memorial tournament

Two wins were the product of a promising start for the New Richmond boys tennis team in the Eau Claire Memorial Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

As the competition got more challenging, the Tigers found themselves a bit overmatched, losing their final two matches to finish in fourth place in the event.

The Tigers started the tournament by facing La Crosse Aquinas, with the Tigers recording a 5-2 victory. The Tigers swept their four singles matches against Aquinas, with Nick Bradish, Jack Hop, Casey Turnipseed and Russ Hop sweeping the singles bouts. The Tigers also notched a tough win at three doubles, with Stuart Pearson and Kyle McKibben generating a 6-4, 5-7, 10-7 win.

In the second round, the Tigers notched an impressive win, beating Eau Claire North, 4-3. Bradish, Jack Hop and Turnipseed carried wins from the singles side, while Pearson and McKibben struck again in three doubles. Their 6-2, 6-2 win secured the dual win for the Tigers.

On Saturday the Tigers had to wait through a four-hour rain delay before facing Lakeville South. Lakeville was a powerhouse and extremely young. Because it’s a Minnesota school, junior high athletes can play at the varsity level. Lakeville played two seventh graders and two freshmen in beating the Tigers 7-0.

The Tigers finished second in their pool, so they faced the second place team from the other pool in the third place match. The Tigers were paired up against Verona, a talented team from the Madison area that lost to Eau Claire Memorial in pool play. Verona was able to top the Tigers 6-1. Bradish scored the Tigers’ only win against Verona.

Tiger coach Mike Montello said the team got some badly needed work in during the tournament, especially for this early in the season.

There is a solid amount of experience in the Tiger lineup, led by Bradish, who is in his fourth year in the varsity lineup. Jack Hop, Turnipseed, Connor Earley and Vitaliy Gutsal also return to the lineup. With 21 boys out for the team, Montello will have athletes to build around. Several of them are seniors, including McKibben, Mitch Giannini, Logan Dadez and Sam Hagen.

The Tigers return this weekend with a tournament in La Crosse. They resume Middle Border Conference action next Tuesday, when they play a home match against Ellsworth.

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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