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Netters roll to season-opening win

Hudson's Josh Szyman returns a shot in his No. 1 doubles match with partner Eric Kromer against Hill Murray in the boys tennis team's season opener last Monday. Szyman and Kromer posted a 7-5, 6-2 victory to help the Raiders to a 7-0 win. Submitted photo

The Raider boys tennis team kicked off the season on a high note by cruising to a 7-0 victory over Hill-Murray in East St. Paul last Monday.

Hudson won five of the seven matches in straight sets. Freshman Max Hawksford rallied for a third set tiebreaker at No. 2 singles to win in his first varsity match and Stephen Hilding and Joe Hanson won 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles to preserve the sweep.

The Raiders hosted Baldwin-Woodville Tuesday and will open Big Rivers Conference play Thursday at 4 p.m. at home against Menomonie. They will host Tartan in a nonconference match Monday, April 20, at 3:45 p.m.

Last Monday against Hill-Murray, Hudson welcomed three new players to the singles lineup, with all but Saajan Bhakta playing their first varsity match for the Raiders. Bhakta posted a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Hill-Marray's TJ Payzant at No. 3 singles.

Hawksford battled back from a 2-6 setback in the opening set against Max Santrach at No. 2 singles to win the second set, 7-5. The pair went to a tiebreaker in the third set before Hawksford came out on top of a 7-6 score.

"He showed great determination and prevailed," Raider coach Jon Hilding said. "The match will certainly be one he remembers."

Hudson's Vitor Linhares defeated Hill-Murray's Garrett Foley, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 1 singles and Jim Setzer defeated Kevin Shay, 6-2, 6-4 at the No. 4 position.

In doubles play, returning state tournament participant Josh Syzman and sectional qualifiers Hilding and Nick Yannarelly led a solid Raider lineup that lost just one set.

"Their experience will certainly be a benefit as doubles combinations are being set," Coach Hilding said.

Szyman and Eric Kromer teamed up at No. 1 singles and defeated Eric Carlson and Tyler Rice, 7-5, 6-2.

At No. 2 doubles, Hilding and Hanson won their first set, 6-3, against Jack Walsh and Tom Steichen before coming out on the short end of a 3-6 score in the second set. But the pair rebounded with a resounding 6-0 win in the third set to earn the victory.

Yannarelly and Ryan Hanes defeated Alex Ucken and Caleb Ubi, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 3 doubles.

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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