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Raiders fall in state tennis openers

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Both Hudson representatives at the WIAA State Boys Tennis Tournament lost their opening matches last Thursday, May 31 in Madison.

Max Hawksford fell to Chayce Roecker of Kettle Moraine, 6-1, 6-2 in singles play while the team of Jeff Dahl and Griffin Robertson dropped a hard-fought 6-2, 6-7(9), 6-10 decision to Andy Krugler and Charlie Bostwick of Whitefish Bay in the doubles bracket.

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Hawksford ends his senior season with a record of 20-6 while Dahl and Robertson finished 16-6.

Raider coach Dave Dahl said Hawksford had been playing well leading up to his third straight trip to the state tournament, but had trouble adjusting to the spin his left-handed opponent put on the ball.

"I was surprised he just couldn't get it going today," Dahl said. "I thought as the match went on, Max would get things going his way. Roecker had a big forehand and played mostly error-free tennis. To his credit, he never gave Max much of an opening."

Dahl said the Raiders have fared very well with Hawksford at the top of the lineup the last three years, and his three straight trips to state are unprecedented.

"His kind of skills obviously don't come around very often," Dahl said. "Max plans to play at UW-Whitewater next season, which is the premier program in the WIAC. I know he'll be greatly missed in Hudson."

Jeff Dahl and Robertson's loss to the top-16 seeded team from Whitefish Bay was a heartbreaker, according to the coach. After winning the first set, the Raider duo fell behind 4-1 in the second set. They stormed back to take a 5-4 lead, fell behind 6-5, then forced a second set tiebreaker.

"We had two match point opportunities and came within an eyelash both times of winning, but just missed," Coach Dahl said. "It was a very tough loss for the guys, but I was happy with their effort. Only a select few athletes earn their way to a state tournament. The frustration will turn into some positive memories eventually for these two. We didn't really know Jeff and Griff would be our one doubles team at the start of the season, but they turned into quite the formidable duo and had a great season."

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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.
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