Cloquet freshman starts strong at State tennis

 

June 16, 2023

Contributed photo

Cloquet freshman Ethan Lavan won his first match and lost his second at the Class A State tennis tournament Thursday, June 8. Lavan poses here with, from left, assistant coach Nick Lind, head coach Derek Johnson and assistant coach Tom Proulx. Proulx was awarded assistant coach of the year for Section 7A.

In a field dominated by seniors, Cloquet freshman Ethan Lavan faced a sophomore in his first Class A state tennis match at Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis, and won 6-3, 6-4, against Ayan Glaser from St. Anthony Village.

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton head coach Derek Johnson said they didn't know much about Glaser going in - the two had not even played any common opponents - but he thought Lavan had a good shot at winning as long as he kept his cool.

He did.

"He earned it. He deserved to be there," Johnson said. "I think he was down 3-1 at one moment but rattled back to win 6-3. After that it was place-mark tennis: he placed the ball well, and frustrated his opponent."

After the second set, Lavan let the excitement show, his coach said.

"Our little ninth-grader was all smiles afterward," Johnson added, noting that Lavan was the youngest player there. Eleven of the 16 Class A state competitors were seniors.

Following the match with Glaser, Lavan advanced to quarterfinals and lost 6-0, 6-1 to the No. 2 seed, Marjan Veldic from Rochester Lourdes. Veldic went on to win the state title, so one could say Lavan was defeated by the best.

"Last year Veldic was upset in the state tournament, so this was his redemption year," Johnson said. "He's a 6-foot-5 lefty, and powerful. Ethan did the best he could, he got one game off him."

Despite his youthful appearance, Lavan has been a force to be reckoned with from his first year on the Lumberjacks team. He had his first taste of playing No. 1 singles for CEC as a seventh-grader and has had the job full-time the past two years. Next year, Johnson said, he plans to schedule some tougher teams from further south, so Lavan has a chance to face some of the players he may meet at a future state meet.

Johnson said Lavan - who also excels in science fair - likes the challenge of playing No. 1 singles.

"He's one of those kids that really doesn't back down. He just likes to go out and play tennis and battle," the coach said. "But he hates publicity; he likes flying under the radar."

Not anymore.

Other coaches will know Lavan's name at next year's tournament, Johnson said.

 
 

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