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No. 2-ranked Lourdes too much for Schaeffer in Section 1A final

Lourdes scored a relatively easy 7-0 win over Schaeffer Academy in the boys tennis section final. The Eagles will now head to state.

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Tennis Sections
Lourdes senior Freddie Suhler serves the ball against his opponent from Schaeffer in the Rochester Athletic Club on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin

The goal has gone unchanged all season.

The Rochester Lourdes boys tennis team has its eyes on winning a state championship.

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The No. 2-ranked Eagles are now one step closer to that opportunity, having assured themselves a spot in the June 7-8 state tournament with a decisive 7-0 win over Schaeffer Academy in the Section 1A championship at the Rochester Athletic Club.

It was Lourdes' second straight section title victory against the Lions, who are an unusual team in that their lineup features a mix of boys and girls.

It also marked the second time in as many weeks that Lourdes beat Schaeffer, the Eagles having closed the regular season with that same 7-0 score against the Lions.

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Lourdes (13-5 overall) is a problem for Schaeffer (13-7) just as it's been for every Class A team that it has met this season, having run the table against like-sized schools.

"We were hoping specifically that we'd give a really good effort at all three doubles spots," Schaeffer coach Kady Monson said. "And putting a singles player (No. 1 singles player Faith Monson) into doubles was part of the practice plan this time. But obviously, Lourdes is really well coached in doubles."

Tennis Sections
Schaeffer Academy seventh-grader Noah Ryder shakes hands with Lourdes senior and No. 1 singles opponent Marjan Veldic after their match on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Veldic was victorious, with a final score of 6-0, 6-0.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bullet

Kady Monson got the kind of effort she'd hoped for in doubles, including forcing three sets at the No. 1 and 3 spots.

Still, it wasn't enough against an Eagles team that is both talented and driven.

"We are super excited to be in this scenario," said Lourdes No. 3 singles player Freddie Suhler, one of six seniors on this team. "It feels really good to be going back to state. The best part about it is being able to be with your teammates even longer. State is the most fun we have all season, going to the Mall of America and hanging out with the guys and getting to play really good tennis."

Besides all of those Eagles seniors are some crucial underclassmen for Lourdes. They include eighth-grade No. 4 singles player Evan Ritter, who won both his matches in straight sets Tuesday. The first came against Red Wing in the section semifinals (another 7-0 Lourdes win), the other against Schaeffer. Schaeffer beat Lake City 5-2 its semifinal.

Lourdes and Schaeffer faced off in the Section 1A boys tennis final at the Rochester Athletic Club on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

Ritter has never stopped being thankful for his inclusion on a Lourdes team that is both talented and together, and guided by those experienced seniors.

The older guys set the tone on Tuesday, as they've done all season.

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"Those guys care a ton about this tennis season," Ritter said. "Since they are all about to graduate, they've regarded this as their year and their best chance to win a state championship. They let us (young players) know that we can win. I really like this team. Everyone is super friendly and everyone talks to each other, no matter their age."

• The Schaeffer/Lourdes dual had a David vs. Goliath feel, with Lourdes coming from a much larger school than Schaeffer, which includes girls on its roster in order to be able to field a varsity team.

One lineup spot showed the biggest contrast. That was at No. 1 singles, where Lourdes boasts the top player in Class A, junior Marjan Veldic. Schaeffer went with a seventh-grader there, Noah Ryder.

Veldic is a big and strong 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. Ryder goes 4-9, 80 pounds.

Still, Ryder — who has yet to hit any kind of a growth spurt — relished the opportunity and showed plenty of potential along the way, despite losing 6-0, 6-0.

"It was fun," Ryder said. "I tried to get some volleys going, but it was hard against his big lefty serve. But I learned from it. I want to have a game like his when I grow up."

SEMIFINALS

Lourdes 7, Red Wing 0
Singles: Marjan Veldic (L) def. Josh Kolby 6-0, 6-1; Ethan Leeser (L) def. Aidan Hull 6-1, 6-0; Freddie Suhler (L) def. Braydon Bennyhoff 6-0, 6-1; Evan Ritter (L) def. Luke Ferrar 6-0, 6-1. Doubles: Easton Blissenbach/Charlie Young (L) def. Matt Lu/Noah Montgomery 6-0, 6-1; Jack Fitzgerald/Ethan Hubbard (L) def. Eli Flattum/Jacob Flemke 6-1, 6-1; Jonathan Boughey/Ethan Thomposon (L) def. Seth Malyon/McCoy Walter 6-2, 6-1.

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Schaeffer Academy 5, Lake City 2
Singles: Jack Meincke (LC) def. Faith Monson 7-5, 6-3; Asher Monson (SA) def. Trey Meincke 6-1, 6-0; Hudson Zimmerman (SA) def. Eli Miller 6-1, 6-4; Jaymes Lukes (LC) def. Joe Lash 6-3, 6-2. Doubles: Aidan Kluth/Kate Friese (SA) def. Ryan Heise/Edwin Larois-Herrera 6-2, 7-6 (7-5); Noah Monson/Grace Monson (SA) def. Alec McElmury/Patrick Kennedy 6-2, 7-6; Noah Ryder/Bethany Monson (SA) def. Cade Oliver/Maddox Shones 6-1, 6-1.

FINAL

Lourdes 7, Schaeffer Academy 0
Singles: Veldic (L) def. Ryder 6-0, 6-0; Leeser (L) def. Zimmerman 6-0, 6-0; Suhler (L) def. Lash 6-2, 6-0; Ritter (L) def. Bethan Monson 6-1, 6-3. Doubles: Blissenbach/Young (L) def. Faith Monson/Asher Monson 5-7, 7-6, 10-6; Fitzgerald/Hubbard (L) def. Kluth/Friese 6-2, 6-3; Boughey/Thompson (L) def. Noah Monson/Grace Monson 4-6, 6-3, 10-8.

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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