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Raider No. 1 singles player Vitor Linhares charges the net to return a shot in his match against River Falls' Bobby Perkins-McIntosh Thursday in River Falls. Linhares posted a 6-3, 6-2 victory to help the Raiders to a 5-2 win over the Wildcats. Photo by Bob Burrows

Netters coming on strong

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The Raider boys tennis team had a good week last week, posting a nonconference win over Tartan at home last Monday before defeating Big Rivers Conference foe River Falls on the road Thursday.

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The Raiders improved to 5-0 overall, 2-0 in the BRC, and will host perennial BRC powerhouse Eau Claire Memorial Thursday, April 30 at 4 p.m. at the high school courts.

Hudson took a 6-0 decision from Tartan Monday with Ben Duerst's match at No. 4 singles called due to rain. Thursday the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams remained undefeated and Saajan Bhakta kept his record perfect as the Raiders defeated River Falls, 5-2.

The Raiders also welcomed Zach Blum back to the singles lineup, and he responded with a pair of victories in his first action of the season.

He has been recuperating from an injury but is a fine singles player, and will certainly make our lineup even more formidable," Raider coach Jon Hilding said.

Blum, playing at No. 3 singles, earned a 6-2, 6-1 victory against Tartan last Monday while Vitor Linhares took a 6-3, 6-1 decision at No. 1 and Max Hawksford won 6-1, 6-2 at No. 3.

In doubles play, Stephen Hilding and Joe Hanson posted a 6-1, 6-0 win at the No. 1 spot, Eric Kromer and Ryan Hanes cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 2, and Nick Yannarelly and Will Gaumitz won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3.

Thursday at River Falls, Linhares defeated Bobby Perkins-McIntosh 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 singles but Hawksford came out on the short end of a 6-2, 1-6, 4-6, score to Jackson Rohde at No. 2.

Blum defeated Kusha Rahgozar, 6-4, 6-4, at the No. 3 position and Bhakta pulled out a hard-fought 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 decision at No. 4 to give the Raiders three out of four singles victories.

Josh Szyman and Kromer were beaten 2-6, 3-6 by Jimmy Ekman and Nick Ambur at No. 1 singles, but both Hilding and Hanson, and Yannarelly and Hanes stayed undefeated with wins in their matches.

Hilding and Hanson defeated Sam Abair and Ryan Foster 7-6, 6-4 at No. 2 doubles and Yannarelly and Hanes defeated Charlie Steinmetz and Luke Voss, 6-4, 6-1.

"Stephen Hilding and Joey Hanson raised their record to 5-0 and continue to show great teamwork," Coach Hilding said. "Nick Yannarelly and Ryan Hanes raised their mark to 4-0 and are displaying confident shot-making ability.

"In singles play, Saajan Bhakta remains unbeaten and is off to a strong start in his senior season," Hilding added.

The Raiders' visit to Shakopee to play in the Saber Invitational was rained out Saturday.

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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.
(715) 426-1047
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