VIRGINIA — The Eveleth-Gilbert boys’ tennis team ended the regular season with a convincing 7-0 win over Duluth Denfeld Tuesday at Virginia’s indoor tennis facilities.
But now the focus shifts to the playoffs, where the Bears will be tested to see if they can have all 10 players in their lineup peak at the right time.
“We’ve had moments of brilliance throughout the season, but as a team we haven’t put it all together very often,” said head coach Dean Edstrom. “That’s what we need to do in the playoffs and I think that we have the ability to do that. We showed that today.”
The Bears certainly did show that as they swept the Hunters without dropping a single set to close out the regular season.
At No. 1 singles, Rob Licari was perfect in his 6-0, 6-0 rout of Denfeld’s Christian MacMillan. On his top netter’s play, Edstrom said he was pleased with how Licari showed up today.
“He looked very focused. He was striking the ball well and not making a lot of errors. Sometimes that can be hard to do when you’re playing an opponent that’s a little bit lower level than you. To maintain that focus is tough and I thought he did a really good job of that today.”
At No. 2 singles, Noah Sandnas dropped one game each set on his way to defeating the Hunters’ Carson Schulte, 6-1, 6-1. Eighth grader Jared Delich dropped just one game of his on with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Quinten Rimolde at No. 3 singles and Jake Bradach was the winner at No. 4 singles with a hard-fought win over Duluth Denfeld’s Jack Davis, 5-4, 6-3.
On the doubles side, Bears senior Gavin Maki and junior Nick Beaudette dropped just one game on the way to a 6-1, 6-0 win over the Hunters’ Adler Wormuth and Hayden Hollinday. Eveleth-Gilbert’s Cole Anderson and Nate Tassoni were back and fourth with Shane Redenbaugh and John Bloomquist but pulled out the win 6-4, 6-3.
Finally at No. 3 doubles, the Bears’ AJ Roen and Dylan Niemi took set one over Nick Anderson and Gabe Fossum, 6-3, before cruising to victory in the second set, 6-0 to finish off the Eveleth-Gilbert sweep.
With strong play in the doubles sports, Edstrom noted how well all of the pairs played together.
“I think our doubles looked good today. Everyone played really smart together and they didn’t get lazy. Overall, I was impressed with just about everyone today.”
Throughout the season, Edstrom has noted his team’s struggles with serving but felt like Tuesday was one of the Bears’ better days from the service line.
“I thought our serving was another area where we’ve had some issues as a team but today I think we served pretty well. I’m glad we ended on a good note today. I’m looking forward to seeing how things shake out with the playoffs about to start.”
As his team looks primed for the post season, Edstrom laid out what he’ll need from his squad if they hope to find success.
“I think it’ll be effort and attitude that decides things for us. If we go in with a good attitude and a good 100% effort, we can play with anybody. Doing that with all 10 guys has been difficult but that’s what we‘re hoping for now.”
Lastly, Edstrom said he was pleased that his seniors got to go out on a positive note in their last regular season match of their careers.
“Best of luck to all the seniors. This was their last regular season match and they’ve been a great group to work with. They’ve done a great job of leading the team so hopefully their season will continue.”
Seniors on the Golden Bear roster include Cole Anderson, Gavin Maki, Noah Sandnas and Rob Licari.
Eveleth-Gilbert will begin its playoff run on Thursday. Their seed and opponent are yet to be determined.
Eveleth-Gilbert 7, Virginia 0
Singles: No. 1 Robbie Licari, EG, def. Christian MacMillan, DD, 6-0, 6-0; No. 2 Noah Sandnas, EG, def. Carson Schulte, DD, 6-1, 6-1; No. 3 Jared Delich, EG, def. Quinten Rimolde, DD, 6-1, 6-0; No. 4 Jake Bradach, EG, def. Jack Davis, DD, 6-4, 6-3.
Doubles: No. 1 Gavin Maki/Nick Beaudette, EG, def. Adler Wormuth/Hayden Hollinday, DD, 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 Cole Anderson/Nate Tassoni, EG, def. Shane Redenbaugh/John Bloomquist, DD, 6-4, 6-3; No. 3 AJ Roen/Dylan Niemi, EG, def. Nick Anderson/Gabe Fossum, DD, 6-3, 6-0.