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'Jacks tennis team out of section play

Individual section matches are next

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton went 1-1 in the Section 7 boys tennis tournament play last week. The Lumberjacks opened with an impressive 7-0 win over Duluth Marshall before being ousted from tournament play in a 5-2 loss to Hibbing.

"Winning 7-0 in our first playoff match at home was great," said CEC head coach Derek Johnson. "Against Hibbing we were the underdogs, and in the regular season we lost a close 4-3 match to them."

Against Marshall, the Lumberjacks swept all singles and doubles games. Ethan Lavan won at No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-0 over Tae Harstad. No. 2 singles saw CEC's Marco Zegan handle Luke Weis 6-0, 6-1. At No. 3 singles, Devin Cary downed Sammy Hadiar 6-1, 6-0 and CEC's No. 4 singles player Tommy Radosevich beat Isaac Ballmer 6-0, 6-1.

In doubles play, the CEC No. 1 team of Ethan Doty and Max Sundquist were 6-5, 7-6 winners over Landon Wheeler and Van Schmickle. CEC's No. 2 team of Noah and Joey Bender took an impressive 7-6, 7-5 victory over Will Watson and Oliver Odland. At No. 3 doubles, Wesley Olson and Chris Stoltzfus won 3-6, 6-3, 12-10 in the hardest-fought match of the day.

"I'm very proud of our doubles teams because they accepted the challenge and they played well," Johnson said. "All of the doubles matches were tight, and we didn't get rattled."

Against Hibbing, the lone winners were Lavan at No. 1 singles and Marco Zegan at No. 4 singles. Lavan won easily, 6-0, 6-0 over his opponent while Zegan had to fight and claw his way to a 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 win.

"Lavan just appears to be getting better, and the Hibbing coach told me the same thing," Johnson said of the sophomore, who played in the state meet last year.

"Marco (Zegan) won the first set fairly quickly, [but] the second set he got tight and played nervous and didn't fire the shots he normally hits," Johnson added. "Marco regrouped and got the win in the third set super-tie breaker."

The loss eliminated the 'Jacks from the team portion of the section, but individuals will still have a chance to qualify for state. Each team can have two singles players and two doubles teams play in sectionals.

"Ethan (Lavan) will for sure be the No. 1 seed because his record is 18-2 this season," Johnson said. "Marco will be our other singles player. We will have Joey and Noah Bender paired in doubles along with Max Sundquist and Ethan Doty as the other doubles team."

For most of the team, the season has come to a close. Johnson said he is happy with how their first season on the new tennis courts played out.

"It was a good season," he said. "The boys' season always goes so fast in the spring with the weather and school wrapping up. We had a solid season with a record of 13-8 and will be graduating two seniors, Ethan Doty and Chris Stoltzfus."

Play was scheduled to begin Wednesday for individual sectionals indoors in Virginia, with the semifinals and finals scheduled for Thursday in Cloquet.