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Five advance to tennis sectional

Raider senior Alex Johnson returns a shot in her No. 1 doubles match with partner Bailey Knight against New Richmond last Thursday at the high school courts. Johnson and Knight helped Hudson to a 4-3 victory over the Tigers before winning their only match at Monday's subsectional to advance to Wednesday's sectional tournament.

One Raider singles player and two doubles teams will compete for berths in next week's WIAA State Tennis Tournament when they travel to the Division 1 sectional Wednesday, Oct. 3, in Wausau.

The five Raiders all kept their seasons alive by going undefeated at Monday's subsectional tournament in New Richmond.

Kelsie Hines posted a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Rice Lake at No.1 singles to advance while the No. 1 doubles team of Bailey Knight and Alex Johnson defeated River Falls, 6-1, 6-2 to move on. Hines, and Knight and Johnson, need to win their first match at Wednesday's sectional to clinch spots at state.

The No. 2 doubles team of Sydney Squires and Julia Douglas will need two more wins after winning twice at Monday's subsectional. The pair opened play with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Eau Claire North before posting a 5-7, 6-3, 6-34 victory over Rice Lake to advance.

"This was their third win this season over a good Rice Lake team," Raider coach Dave Dahl said. "It's pretty common for that third one to be tough and that was certainly the case today. These two just know how to get the job done."

Hudson's No. 3 doubles team of MacKenzie Uecker and Kate Johnson had a long day, beating Chippewa Falls in three sets, CF 6-7,7-5,6-0 before losing 2-6, 7-6, 5-7 to New Richmond.

"They used a little magic, down 6-7, 2-5 to Chippewa Falls before winning 11 straight games to pull out that match," Dahl said. "It just was not meant to be at the end of the New Richmond battle. This senior/sophomore combination jelled very nicely this season finishing with an impressive 19-5 record. MacKenzie should be very proud of her strong senior season."

Emily Schertz also lost a hard-fought, three set match to end her season. After opening with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over River Falls she dropped a 6-4, 5-7, 4-6 decision to Chippewa Falls.

"It was a heartbreaking loss for Emily," Dahl said. "She filled the two singles very capably this season, finishing with a 17-12 record. It will be great to have her back next year."

MacKenzie Murphy, at No. 3 singles, and Rachel Knops, at No. 4, both won their opening matches before losing in the second round.

Murphy beat Chippewa Falls, 6-1, 6-0, but lost to River Falls, 5-7, 3-6.

"MacKenzie competed well all season long," Dahl said. "She won plenty of big matches for us this season and she'll be a tough kid to replace."

Knops defeated Chippewa Falls 6-2, 7-5 before losing to Menomonie 4-6, 3-6.

"Rachel made significant progress in this, her first varsity season," Dahl said. "If she keeps improving, I know she'll add plenty more wins next season."

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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