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Lourdes settles for third place after upset loss to Breck

Lourdes' hopes to finish as state boys tennis champions ended in the Class A tournament semifinals, No. 3 Breck scoring a 4-3 upset win over No. 2 Lourdes.

Section 1A Boys Tennis Individual Championship
Lourdes' Evan Ritter returns the ball to Schaeffer Academy's Faith Monson during the Section 1A boys tennis individual third-place match Tuesday, May 31, 2022, at the Rochester Athletic Club.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Lourdes boys tennis team didn’t see that coming.

But it happened. The Eagles, who had high hopes of finishing the season as Class A state team champions, were denied a spot in the title round. It was No. 3-ranked Breck blocking their way, beating No. 2-ranked Lourdes 4-3 on Wednesday in the state semifinals at Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center.

Earlier in the season, Lourdes had its way against the state-defending champion Mustangs, cruising to a 5-2 win. But that was nearly a month ago. The Eagles didn’t have nearly the same success in this second meeting.

"It was disappointing, but not a surprise in the sense that we knew we'd have a battle on our hands, especially if (Breck) put lots of their good guys into doubles," Lourdes coach Steve Tacl said. "And we knew that they had a very good No. 1 singles player. The difference today was that we needed to come up with great tennis in order to win, and we weren't able to deliver."

Lourdes was swept in doubles and surprisingly also lost at No. 1 singles, where Marjan Veldic resides. Veldic, a junior and ranked first in the state, had a difficult match, falling to Zach Piehl 6-3, 6-3. Piehl is a strong player, ranked No. 9 in Class A.

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"It was no one's fault," said Tacl, whose team went on to win the third-place dual, beating Rock Ridge (Virginia) 5-2. "Everyone who had an opportunity to win (against Breck) felt bummed out that it didn't happen. We didn't have a great day at a few spots and it cost us. We've come out on the right end of a lot of these battles (over the years), though."

Lourdes has six seniors on this team.

It was Breck that also ended Lourdes’ state title hopes last year, beating the Eagles 7-0 in the semifinals.

Lourdes last won the Class A state title in 2018. It finished this season 15-6, its loss to Breck its only one against a Class A team.

Lourdes’ wins against Breck came from Ethan Leeser at No. 2 singles, Freddie Suhler at No. 3 singles and Evan Ritter at No. 4 singles. It had a tough loss at No. 1 doubles, Easton Blissenbach and Charlie Young falling 6-1, 7-6 (7-1 tie-breaker).

As difficult as Tacl admitted playing in the third-place dual was to end this tournament, he was pleased with the way his team approached it and played.

"They came out and played with good energy," Tacl said. "It was fun to see them play the way they know they can."

SEMIFINALS

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Breck 4, Lourdes 3

Singles: Zach Piehl (B) def. Marjan Veldic 6-3, 6-3; Ethan Leeser (L) def. Ivers Emerson 6-0, 6-1; Freddie Suhler (L) def. Seabass Cherian 6-0, 6-0; Evan Ritter (L) def. Luis Kelly 6-3, 6-0. Doubles: Enrico Petto/John Gorman (B) def. Easton Blissenbach/Charlie Young 6-1, 7-6 (7-1); Nate Ernst/Braden Barkmeier (B) def. Jack Fitzgerald/Ethan Hubbard 6-0, 6-2; Matt Berestka/Patrick Green (B) def. Jonathan Boughey/Ethan Thompson 6-3, 6-2.

THIRD PLACE

Lourdes 5, Rock Ridge 2
Singles: Marjan Veldic (L) def. Jared Delich 6-3, 6-2; Ethan Leeser (L) def. Gavin Benz 6-2, 6-2; Jake Bradach (RR) def. Evan Ritter 6-0, 6-1; Owen Buggert (RR) def. Will Pollock 6-2, 6-1. Doubles: Freddie Suhler/Charlie Young (L) def. Keegan Ruedebusch/Kasey Lamppa 6-3, 6-1; Jack Fitzgerald/Ethan Hubbard (L) def. Ryan Manninen/Peyton Bialke 6-1, 7-6 (7-5); Easton Blissenbach/Jonathan Boughey (L) def. Grady Dimberio/AJ Roen 6-1, 6-1.

Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or pruff@postbulletin.com.
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