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Lavan returns to state matches

For the second straight year, the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys tennis team has a player going to State and for the second year in a row sophomore Ethan Lavan is that player. Lavan captured the Section 7A singles title in amazing fashion.

In all, the Lumberjacks sent six players to play in last week's individual section championships.

"Ethan was incredible and just went out and took care of business," said CEC head coach Derek Johnson. "He won 48 games and lost just two in winning his four matches and the championship."

Lavan uses a patient approach to his game: waiting for a mistake by his opponent and then he pounces when the opportunity presents itself. In the title match, Lavan beat Peyton Marks of Rock Ridge, 6-0, 6-0.

"He just has this mindset that he is going to get to every ball and then he will outwork you," said Johnson. "His game is consistent and defensive and he turns his defense into offense in a hurry, plus his ground strokes are phenomenal."

CEC's other singles player, Marco Zegan, lost his opening round match to Will Watson of Duluth Marshall.

"Marco had a very good year for us," Johnson said. "He had no set role early in the year and worked his way into a very important role for us."

CEC also had two doubles teams in the tournament. Max Sundquist and Ethan Doty took a first round win over Aitkin before losing to a team from Rock Ridge in the second round.

The other CEC doubles team, featuring brothers Noah and Joey Bender, also won its first match over another set of brothers, the Doyle brothers of Duluth Denfeld, before losing to the Hibbing team that eventually won the section championship.

"All of our guys battled in all of their matches," said a proud Johnson.

Next up for Lavan will be a date at the Minnesota State Tennis Tournament at Reed-Sweatt Familiy Tennis Center in Minneapolis June 6-7.

"Ethan is 22-2 this season and he won a first-round game last season at the state tournament," Johnson said. "He ended up losing to the eventual state champion. He's excited to head back down to state and show off his skills."

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