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Raider tennis players remain undefeated conference play

The Raider boys' tennis team continued to flex its muscles in Big Rivers Conference play with a pair of 7-0 victories over Eau Claire North and Menomonie last week.

The two wins kept the Raiders undefeated in BRC play at 3-0 heading into their conference match Thursday, May 3, at home against River Falls. Friday and Saturday, May 4-5, they will play in the Border Battle Tournament hosted by Eau Claire Memorial.

Raider head coach Dave Dahl said this weekend's tournament in Eau Claire will provide the Raiders with their stiffest challenge yet.

"Our toughest weekend is coming up with matches against Stillwater, Hopkins and Eau Claire Memorial," he said. "We'll actually be playing the underdog role, but I know the guys are pumped up to play some of the top teams in the area."

Last Monday at Eau Claire North, Max Hawksford, at No. 1 singles, and Max Cherrier, at No. 4 singles, both cruised to 6-0, 6-0 victories while Cal Johnson posted a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 2 singles and Jack Schulte won 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3.

In doubles play, Jeff Dahl and Griffin Robertson won 6-3, 6-4 at the No. 1 spot, Kody Owens and Ben Klundt earned a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 2, and Dan Botethi and Sam Duchow pulled out a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 win at No. 3.

"Teams know that it's not a bad strategy to avoid Max Hawksford at the top of the singles lineup," Dahl noted. "Max has been mowing down opponents all season and continued on his tear last week. The biggest surprise in our early success has been the play of Cal Johnson, Jack Schulte and Max Cherrier. All three are sophomores who are new to the team this year and they've all been competing at a high level."

Thursday, April 26 at Menomonie, Hawksford won 6-1, 6-0 and Johnson rolled 6-0, 6-0 while Schulte took a 6-4, 6-3 victory and Cherrier won 6-0, 6-2.

The Raiders were pushed a little more in doubles play, where Jeff Dahl and Robertson posted a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win and Owens and Klundt battled to a 6-7(4), 7-6(20), 6-1 victory. Duchow and Jake Shreffler won handily, 6-1, 6-2 at the No. 3 doubles spot.

"Although the scoreboard shows a couple of lopsided wins, we did get pushed in several of the matches," Dahl said. "The thing I was most pleased about is we came through in every single one of them. Jeff and Griffin had a chance to test their mettle and responded nicely. It's not uncommon for teams to put their best two players at one doubles and that's what we saw from North and Menomonie."

Dahl said he was very pleased with the strong finish by Owens and Klundt at No. 2 doubles in the Menomonie match.

"They played well under pressure and really took control in the third set," he said. "And Jake Shreffler and Sam Duchow are playing smart and aggressively in their doubles spot."

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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