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One doubles team assures New Richmond boys tennis victory

Senior Casey Turnipseed returns a shot for the Tigers tennis team in a match last week.1 / 2
New Richmond senior Connor Earley showed quick reactions to make this shot at the net during the Tigers’ three-set win at one doubles over Menomonie last Thursday. 2 / 2

New Richmond’s one doubles team of Vitaliy Gutsal and Connor Earley provided the deciding three-set victory as the Tiger boys tennis team won a tight 4-3 battle against Menomonie last Thursday on the NRHS courts.

The match was tied 3-3, with the one doubles match the only one going to a third set. New Richmond won the opening set 6-4, but Menomonie came back for a 6-3 win in the second set. The third set was tied at 3-3, before the Tigers made a late charge to win 6-4.

Tiger coach Mike Montello said it was the first set that was the key to this victory. Gutsal and Earley trailed 4-1, before stringing together five straight strong games for the 6-4 win.

The Tigers also got wins from Nick Bradish and Casey Turnipseed in singles matches, and from Mitch Giannini and Russ Hop in the three doubles match.

This was a win that showed some progress for the Tigers. Menomonie had beaten New Richmond 4-3 when the teams met in the tournament in La Crosse in late April.

Eau Claire Regis

Regis is the two-time defending Middle Border Conference champion and the Ramblers took a big step toward their third straight title by beating the Tigers in Eau Claire last Tuesday, 4-3.

New Richmond has been one of Regis’ toughest opponents in the MBC, but each year, it seems that the Ramblers edge the Tigers 4-3 when they play their conference dual match.

While the Tigers lost, they played some of their best tennis of the season. The Tigers got wins from Bradish and Jack Hop at the top of the singles lineup and from Logan Dadez and Sam Hagen in the two doubles match.

Bradish’s win was especially important. He was facing Hunter Cameron, the only player to beat him in an MBC match last year. That loss came in the finals at the conference tournament. This time, Bradish was clearly the better player, winning by 6-1, 6-4 scores.

“When we got to Regis, he had a different quietness about him I have never seen before,” Montello said. “He played incredibly intense and focused.”

Bradish trailed 4-3 in the second set. He held his serve, then broke Cameron’s serve to take charge in the match.

Hop started out trailing 4-0 in his opening set. Montello said Hop’s been a slow starter this season, but once he got rolling, he charged past Victor Bourget for a 6-4, 6-1 win.

“Jack was on a mission,” Montello said.

Montello had high praise for Hagen and Dadez after their 7-6, 6-2 win at two doubles.

“Chemistry is a little overused term sometimes, but these two have it,” Montello said.

Tigers win at Tomah

New Richmond won five of the seven flights to take the team championship in a four-team tournament played at Tomah on Saturday. Marshfield and Viroqua also competed in the tournament.

The tournament was designed to get the best players in each flight lined up against each other, so it provided the Tigers with some excellent competition.

The Tiger singles players excelled, winning all four of their flights. Bradish recorded 6-0, 6-1 and 6-0, 6-1 victories to win the one singles flight. Jack Hop had similar success in winning at two singles.

Turnipseed rolled through his first match at three singles against Viroqua, but he faced a major battle in the title match against Marshfield. Turnipseed lost the first set in a tie-breaker. He came back with a 6-4 win in the second set and a 10-6 win in the third-set tie-breaker, where he trailed 4-2 at the start.

“It was a great effort by a player who refused to quit against a quality opponent.” Montello said.

Freshman Stuart Pearson took the title at four singles with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Marshfield and a 6-2, 6-0 win over Tomah.

Giannini and Russ Hop took the top spot in three doubles. They opened with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Viroqua. In the championship match they got in an early hole against Marshfield, trailing 3-0 and 4-1. They battled back to win the match 7-5, 6-2.

Hagen and Dadez were second place finishers at two doubles and Gutsal and Earley placed third at one doubles.

Tournament time

The Tigers play their final home match of the season this Thursday when they host River Falls and Hudson, with the meet beginning at 2 p.m.

The WIAA tournament season begins next Tuesday when the Tigers compete in the Division 1 subsectional tournament at Chippewa Falls. Play starts at 9:30 a.m. The Tigers will be competing against Osceola, Chippewa Falls, Hudson, Menomonie, River Falls and Superior.

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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