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Hudson No. 2 singles player Kody Owens follows through on a return in his match with partner Ben Klundt in the Raiders' Big Rivers Conference dual match against River Falls last Thursday. Owens and Klundt posted a 6-4, 6-0 victory to help the Raiders sweep the Wildcats, 7-0. Photo by Bob Burrows

Tennis handed first two losses

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sports River Falls, 54022
Hudson Star Observer
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

After posting a pair of 7-0 victories earlier in the week, including a sweep of River Falls Thursday that kept them undefeated in Big Rivers Conference play, the Raider boys' tennis team ran into some stiff competition at last weekend's Eau Claire Memorial Border Battle, finishing 2-2 to end up in fifth place.

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Both Raider victories came on Saturday, 5-2 over Stillwater and 6-1 over Wausau East. Friday they suffered their first two losses of the season, 6-1 to Hopkins and 7-0 to Eau Claire Memorial.

"Even though we got roughed up a little last weekend, I was happy to face some top-tier teams and satisfied with the way we competed," Raider head coach Dave Dahl said. "We had our chances with Hopkins, but they found a way to get the job done in the close matches. Memorial showed their no. 3 ranking in the state is well deserved."

Dahl said Jack Schulte deserved a lot of credit for earning the Raiders' only match win against Hopkins and Memorial, while singles players Cal Johnson and Max Cherrier both picked up quality wins against Stillwater.

"Nobody is a better competitor than Cal, and Max gets steadier each time out," Dahl said.

The Raiders' No. 1 doubles team of Jeff Dahl and Griffin Robertson took the lessons learned in Friday's losses to pound both their Saturday opponents, while Coach Dahl said Jake Shreffler and Sam Duchow looked strong in their doubles win against Stillwater.

"Kody Owens paired with Dan Botethi to earn a big comeback win over the Ponies," Dahl added. "Ben Koch was Kody's partner in a dominating win over East.

Max Hawksford, Hudson's top singles player, suffered a pair of close losses at the tournament, but according to Dahl, he still showed he's one of the most formidable players in the area.

The Raiders returned to Eau Claire for a BRC dual with third-ranked Memorial this past Tuesday, May 8 and will compete in the BRC Tournament Saturday, May 12, at Eau Claire North.

"We've done pretty well so far," Dahl said about the Raiders' 15-2 overall record and 4-0 mark in the BRC, "But I like the fact that the guys are always looking to improve and are not about to rest on their accomplishments. They know they have to prove themselves each and every time out there."

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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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