WF TAKES SECOND
For the second straight year, West Fargo girls tennis finished runner-up in the team portion of the East Region Tournament, which was held last Thursday in Fargo.
"Where we ended was pretty much where I was hoping we'd be," Packers coach Chad Anderson said. "I didn't expect our scores to be as lopsided, though; I thought they'd be a little bit closer.
West Fargo defeated both Fargo Shanley and Fargo North, 4-1, to reach the title match.
The overall winner was no surprise, however: Grand Forks Red River kept its streak going with yet another conference championship. The Roughriders now stand poised to win an additional state tournament title this weekend in Minot.
"They're just a whole different caliber of team," Anderson said of Red River. "We treat it as a learning experience."
North and Fargo South were the EDC's other qualifiers.
West Fargo qualified several players for the state tournament, and also brought home individual and dual conference honors.
In individuals, Sarina Olson was sixth as West Fargo's lone placer. The junior won her first two matches in straight sets before getting bumped 6-1, 6-0 by Red River's Samantha Anderson in the third round. Olson then worked her way to the consolation finals, where she fell 6-3, 6-0 to North's Emily Jacobson.
In doubles, sisters Cassie and Sammie Smith were runners-up, while Kayle Stock and Megan Broton placed fifth.
The Smiths made quick work of their opponents, winning in straight sets en route to the title matchup. But facing the Roughriders's Shirlene Luk and Lalangie Marasinghe was no easy task, as the defending champs successfully kept their crown with a 6-2, 6-1 victory.
To make it to the consolation championship, Stock and Broton easily defeated Red River's Alexo Caoili and Paige Relling 6-0, 6-2 in a state-qualifying match. The duo then edged Spartans Morgan Thompson and Kayla Bjorlie 6-4, 7-5 for fifth place.
For their efforts, Olson, Cassie Smith and Sammie Smith each earned All-Conference honors.
Anderson also was honored with a second-straight EDC Coach of the Year distinction, and his fourth overall.
"I wasn't expecting it," he said.
Now the Packers head to the state tournament, where they will enter as the No. 2 seed from the East and face No. 3 Bismarck. The meet kicks off Thursday with quarterfinals at 2 p.m., and the second round begins at 5 p.m. Final rounds start 9 a.m. Friday. The Packers placed third at last year's State Tournament.
As far as the Demons are concerned, West Fargo will have to be in top form.
"We played them in the semis last year, and they beat us 3-2, so it's going to be one heck of a match," Anderson said. "They're going to give us a run for our money."
In individual play, East No. 6 Olson is set to face West No. 3 Alicia Beck of Bismarck St. Mary's. Olson will attempt to best last year's showing, in which she was bumped in the first round of the consolation bracket.
In doubles, the East No. 2 Smith sisters will take on West No. 7 Tanya Bauer and Courtney Brackin of Bismarck Century. In last year's state dual tournament, Cassie and Sammie Smith made it to the second round of consolation play before getting knocked out.
"They were a bit bright-eyed and bushy-tailed last year," Anderson said. "This year, I think they know what to expect. They play at a much higher level."
West Fargo's final dual team of Stock and Broton, the East's No. 5, face West No. 4 Erin Black and Halie Hall of Minot.
Individual and dual play runs Friday through Saturday at various Minot-area tennis courts.
"We'll be ready," Anderson said.