Valley City tennis (1-6 Eastern Dakota Conference, 1-8 overall) played at Shanley (4-3, 4-3) on Thursday in their last regular season EDC match of the year.
Shanley took the match 7-2, but the eighth-seed Hi-Liners' EDC Regional Tournament play-in match against ninth-seed Wahpeton on Monday bears the most important outcome.
The match against Shanley, make no mistake, was an exhibition of Hi-Liner talent.
"After a rough outing against Davies, the team pulled together for by far our best match of the season," Hi-Liner Tennis Head Coach Matt Nielson said, "Dustin and Ondracek played every point to the best of their abilities and never gave up — it was very fun tennis to watch. Derek and Brandon were on a whole other level that I've never seen either on in doubles, and crushed a good Shanley team."
In Singles, Valley senior Derek Reimers lost to Shanley senior Ander Sawchuk, 7-6(6), 6-2.
Dustin Miller lost to senior Patrick Strom, 6-3, 6-4.
Sophomore Dalton Ondracek beat junior Sebastian O'Donnell, 7-6(8), 2-6, 6-4.
Sophomore Brandon Miller lost to senior Brandon Schott, 6-1, 6-3.
"In singles, we had some tight matches on the top," Nielson said. "I believe Dustin played the best Singles match of his life against the All-Stater Patrick Strom. Derek played the best I've seen him play leading to a tight 8-6 loss in the first set-tiebreaker. Dalton found a way to break in the third set for a big win for him, as his opponent will be Shanley's No. 1 in the coming years like Dalton will be ours. Brandon figured out how to play to his opponents weakness in the second set, which lead to more success and more games."
Eighth-grader Evan Haglund lost to senior Alex Fairfield, 6-0, 6-0.
Ninth-grader Sam Jenson lost to ninth-grader Damien O'Donnell, 6-1, 6-0.
"Evan had a tough match against a really good No. 5," Nielson said. "We had a good chat about how to persevere through, and I believe he will respond with a great performance tomorrow. Sam keeps improving as a first year player. [They] are going to make significant strides and will be big part of this Hi-Liner team for the next few years."
In Doubles, Dustin Miller and Ondracek lost to Strom and Sawchuk, 6-2, 6-0.
Reimers and Brandon Miller beat Schott and Schwandt, 6-0, 6-4.
Eighth-grader Brighton Smith — playing in his first Varsity Doubles match — and Jenson lost to Damien O'Donnell and Fairfield, 6-0, 6-0.
"Congratulations on that milestone in [Smith's] tennis career," Nielson said. "Coach [Tavis Peterson] has been very impressed with Brighton's improvement this year, as have I."
Hi-Liner tennis hosts Bismarck Century Friday at 3 p.m.
Valley City's EDC play-in match for the eighth seed at Regionals is Monday at 4:30 p.m., at home versus Wahpeton.
Valley City will also compete the JV Invite this Saturday in Fargo.
Read this story in Friday's Times-Record.