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Hudson Tennis: Better late than never for netters

The Raider boys' tennis team should have 14 matches in by now. Instead it's played just four, including three last Saturday, April 20 at the Wausau West Invitational.

"This spring, something is better than nothing," head coach Dave Dahl said.

The Raiders opened the season with a 6-1 victory last Tuesday, April 16, in Princeton, Minn., before going 2-1 Saturday in Wausau.

"Obviously it's been a frustrating spring for all sports and I know we're not the worst off," Dahl said. "We were happy to finally get the season going."

Dahl said the Raiders outmanned Princeton at most spots last Tuesday, but the most exciting match was the lone Raider loss at No. 1 singles, where freshman Mark Johnson took on Princeton senior Isaiah Mayerchek, who is ranked in the top 10 in the Minnesota large school division.

"Mark played him tough the whole way before falling just short in the third set," Dahl said about the 4-6, 6-2, 3-6 outcome. "It's not often a freshman comes in and plays at the No. 1 singles spot, but Mark is showing early he is very capable.

Hudson's singles wins came from junior Jack Schulte at the No. 2 spot (6-2, 6-4), junior Cal Johnson at No. 3 (6-1, 6-3) and junior Ben Wirth at No. 4 (6-0, 6-0).

In doubles play, senior Griff Robertson and junior Sam Duchow won 6-0, 6-3, at the No. 1 position, senior Jake Shreffler and junior Kody Owens won 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2, and senior Ben Koch and junior Mitch Karras won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3.

"We've got 12 returning letterwinners in the ranks this season, so all that experience should be a plus," Dahl noted.

Many of those returning letterwinners had prom commitments Saturday, leaving the Raiders to field a young lineup at the Wausau West Invitational.

Hudson's lone loss came against Wausau East, 6-1. They went on to defeat Wausau Newman and Wausau West by identical 5-2 scores to post a record of 2-1 on the day.

Johnson outscored his opponents 36-5 while rolling to three wins at the No. 1 singles position while Duchow and Owens each won twice. Sophomores Christian Willeke, Noah LeBrun, and Zack Hansen also won twice while sophomore Blake Bahner and freshmen Mitch Thompson and Chris Jentzsch also saw action.

"To win two of three was really a pretty respectable showing by this crew," Dahl said.

The Raiders are scheduled to open big Rivers Conference play Thursday, April 25, before competing in a make-up of the East Ridge Tournament this Saturday, April 27. The tournament was originally scheduled for April 6.

Hudson will host another make-up match from April 11 when they take on Chippewa Falls Monday, April 29, beginning at 4 p.m.

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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