Wendel Wins, Hi-Liners Take First Conference Match

Valley City tennis looked for their first Eastern Dakota Conference win as they played at Wahpeton on Thursday.

The Hi-Liners won five of six singles matchups, and two of three doubles duels, to tame the Huskies, 7-2, and end a three-match losing streak with momentum.

In singles, Derek Reimers beat Jonathan Bartels, 6-1, 6-1. Dustin Miller beat Jacob Fehr, 6-2, 6-3. Dalton Ondracek beat Kylar Jawaski, 6-3, 6-4. Brandon Miller beat Jon Albers, 6-0, 6-2.

"Our top four, who all have a couple years of varsity experience, stepped
up like they should have," Hi-Liner Tennis Head Coach Matt Nielson said. "We weren't perfect though. Derek was lax on his footwork, Dustin was swinging through volleys and a little too frustrated after losing points. Dalton had the match in hand and took his foot off the gas and let his opponent back in the match. Brandon ran through shots and didn't take the net over when he had a chance. It was a good win for us today with a total team victory. Everyone stepped up and played solid, smart tennis."

Senior Jacob Wendel beat Tanner Tougas, 6-0, 6-2, for his first-ever varsity win. Eighth-grader Evan Haglund lost to Braxten Hoistad, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(2).

"Evan had the match of the day," Nielson said. "It was the only match that went three sets, the only match with a tie-breaker and the only match with a 7-5 set.  Needless to say, it was very close the whole way. Evan morphed in this match from an athlete playing tennis into a 'tennis player.' His strokes were great and his footwork was the best I've seen from him. He got a little jumpy in the tie-breaker ... but what eighth-grader playing varsity with everyone watching wouldn't! He played his heart out and gave it his all on every point. I'm proud of you Evan and so is the team. Winning and losing is NOT what extracurriculars are about; its about laying it on the line for your team and being able to persevere though controversy and make yourself a better person. By those standards, Evan was the biggest winner tonight."

Miller and Ondracek beat Bartels and Jawaski, 6-2, 6-3, in doubles competition. Reimers and Brandon Miller beat Fehr/Hoistad, 6-1, 6-1. Wendel and Jenson lost to Albers/Tougas, 6-2, 6-4.

"Jacob and Sam figured out that playing tennis is FUN a little too late in the match," said Nielson. "Down 5-1, they started to do jumping chest bumps like the Bryan brothers and just had fun.  They won 3 games in a row at that point, but couldn't break serve to knot the match up and lost, 6-4. Playing loose, playing focused and having fun lead to good tennis!  I hope to see the Jacob and Sam of the last four games for the ENTIRE match next time."

Hi-Liner tennis looks to climb the EDC standings when they enter a three-match home stretch against West Fargo on Tuesday (4 p.m.), Fargo North on Thursday (4 p.m.), and Mandan on Friday (time to be announced).

"To have a shot of beating North or Davies, (seniors Derek Reimers and Dustin Miller, and sophomores Dalton Ondracek and Brandon Miller) will have to play solid, fundamental tennis with a high tennis IQ, which I know they are capable of," Nielson said. "Looking at scores around the EDC, we have some chances coming up."