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Lourdes' Witter, Eagles doubles team finish second at state girls tennis tournament

Ryann Witter finished second in singles and the doubles combination of Elyse Palen and Caroline Daly also landed second in the Class A state girls tennis tournament.

Lourdes, Winona Cotter Secton 1A Championship tennis
Lourdes’ Ryann Witter returns a ball during the Section 1A championship team tennis match on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, in Rochester. On Friday at Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis, the Lourdes senior finished runnerup in singles at the Class A state girls tennis tournament.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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MINNEAPOLIS — It wasn’t exactly the ending that Ryann Witter wanted.

But even after losing decisively on Friday in the Class A girls state tournament singles finals at Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center, it was easy for the Lourdes senior star to take a step back and rank her season as a huge success.

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After all, two days before she played a huge role in helping her Eagles to the Class A team championship, Lourdes’ first since 2010. And when she assessed her season individually there were only two losses to count.

Both came to the same girl, No. 1 ranked Isabelle Einess of Breck. The second one was delivered Friday, Einess winning 6-0, 6-2.

As frustrated as Witter was with her own game, she said that Einess deserved almost all of the credit for that. The Breck junior was that good.

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“Isabelle just played really consistent and aggressively consistent,” said Witter, who was ranked No. 2 in Class A. “When you combine the two, that makes for pretty deadly play. I give Isabelle so much credit. She played amazingly well.”

There was one area that Einess had nothing to do with Witter’s troubles. That was the senior’s serve. Normally a strength, it wasn’t there for her Friday.

“My serve failed me today,” Witter said. “It’s normally a big weapon for me. But today it hurt me.”

Palen/Daly finish as runnerup

Lourdes won a pair of individual runnerup medals. The other belonged to the doubles combination of juniors Elyse Palen and Caroline Daly.

A singles player through the regular season, Daly shifted to doubles for the individual tournament.

She found a perfect match in Palen, a tall player who excels at the net and has spent most of her Lourdes career playing doubles. Palen’s net play combined with Daly's consistency from the baseline allowed them to stage the biggest upset of the tournament in doubles.

That happened in the semifinals, when No. 5 seed Palen/Daly beat No. 1 Petra Lyon and Witt Mehbod of Breck in a marathon — 2-6, 7-5, 7-5.

“In the semis, I think we just tried to keep our energy and tried to think about the next point and not focus on the past,” Daly said.

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Palen felt it came down to will.

“I think we just wanted it a little bit more than they did,” Palen said. “Caroline and I are both really big competitors and both want to win. We just had a little bit more than they did.”

In the final, it was opponents Grega Johnson and Chloe Alley of Minnehaha Academy who had just a bit more than Palen/Daly. They won the championship match 6-4, 0-6, 6-2.

Palen went away contented, despite the loss.

“I am really happy with what Caroline and I accomplished,” Palen said. “We played really well together and had a lot of fun. It was an awesome ride for us.”

• The Lourdes doubles team of Taylor Elliott and Erin Witter finished sixth overall. It lost to Duluth Marshall’s Meredith Boettcher and Danica Mark 6-2, 2-6, 10-4 in the fifth-place match.

CLASS A

• At Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center

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Singles

Semifinals: Ryann Witter (Lourdes) def. Ella Sell (Pine City) 6-1, 6-0; Isabelle Einess (Breck) def. Lauren Rutten (Staples-Motley) 6-0, 6-0. Final: Einess (Breck) def. Witter 6-0, 6-2. Third place: Rutten (Staples-Motley) def. Sell (Pine City) 6-2, 6-2.

Doubles

Semifinals: Elyse Palen/Caroline Daly (Lourdes) def. Petra Lyon/Witt Mehbod (Breck) 2-6, 7-5, 7-5; Grega Johnson/Chloe Alley (Minnehaha Academy) def. Allison Unverzagt/Sophia Lahti (Pine City) 6-7 (7-2), 6-1, 6-1. Final: Johnson/Alley (Minnehaha Academy) def. Palen/Daly 6-4, 0-6, 6-2. Third place: Unverzagt/Lahti (Pine City) def. Lyon/Mehbod (Breck) 6-4, 1-6, 10-6. Consolation semifinals: Taylor Elliott/Erin Witter (Lourdes) def. Courtney Eppen/Josie Schmidt (Belle Plaine) 3-6, 6-4, 12-10. Fifth place: Meredith Boettcher/Danica Mark (Duluth Marshall) def. Elliott/Witter (Lourdes) 6-2, 2-6, 10-4.

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