As the clouds gathered over the NBC Spartan Spartan Complex Tuesday, May 18, the Superior and Cloquet tennis teams gathered at separate corners to watch the deciding doubles match.
The Spartans’ Archer Siers and Vinnie Thiesen were battling with Cloquet eighth-graders Marco Zegan and Max Sundquist in the final match to decide who would earn their first Lake Superior Conference win.
Players from both teams began clapping and encouraging their teammates as Siers and Theisen earned a 6-4, 6-4 win and gave Superior a 4-3 win over Cloquet.
“They communicated well, they were focused and they executed shots and we were very proud of how they played it,” Spartan coach Mark Winkle said.
Spartan senior Zach Leno was able to rally from an early 2-0 deficit in the first set to take the No. 1 match from Cloquet junior Logan Beck.
“I think the only problem was in the first game, I was trying to test the waters and see what was working,” Leno said. “My serve was getting really good and coming in with some speed and that really helped me out.”
Superior has struggled some to open the season, but they’ve played mostly teams from Minnesota who started several weeks earlier than the Spartans. They’ve played 12 matches, Winkle said, but have only had a handful of practices. The lack of practice makes it even more difficult because not only is Superior a young team, even the older players lack experience because of the pandemic-canceled season in 2020.
“Our juniors are doing a good job,” Winkle said. “They are in many ways second-year players because they missed the season last year...Even though it’s late May and they’re juniors, they’re essentially starting their second year of tennis in a lot of ways. There is a lack of experience in the number of years played and in the number of matches, but they’re working hard.”
Superior’s schedule gets a little lighter over the next couple of weeks with Minnesota section tournaments set to start this week, meaning the Spartans will have practice on consecutive days for the first time all season.
“That will give us time to repeat some things that we’re trying to get better at, but we can’t always throw into a match,” Winkle said. “But we can with consecutive practices.”
Superior 4, Cloquet 3
Singles — Zach Leno, S, def. Logan Beck 6-4, 6-2; Adam Blesener, C, def. Jaxson Vo 6-2, 6-1; Brodie Raygor, S, def. Jonah Bryant-Nikko 6-3, 6-3; Diedrick Nikoi, S, def. Tyler Leppi 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Doubles — Ty Wolter-Ethan Lavan, C, def. Kaden Olson-Trevor Soderland 7-5, 6-1; Archer Siers-Vinnie Theisen, S, def. Marco Zegan-Max Sundqist 6-4, 6-4; T.J. Sabyan-Sam Bailey, C, def. Allen Nelson-Julian Robbins 6-2, 6-1.