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Kernels cruise in first tennis dual of 2018

BROOKINGS--The defending Eastern South Dakota girls tennis champions took to the court for its first match of the season as Mitchell High School traveled to Brookings on Monday.

BROOKINGS-The defending Eastern South Dakota girls tennis champions took to the court for its first match of the season as Mitchell High School traveled to Brookings on Monday.

With a veteran lineup in place, the Kernels proved why they are once again a favorite to contend for an ESD championship, besting Brookings, 8-1.

Not only did Mitchell win all but one match, but it also won every set but two throughout the duration of the match, earning its first conference and overall win of the season.

"I think we're pretty good and we have pretty high expectations," MHS head coach Pat Moller said. "So every match we expect to go out and win. Just being able to go out and get those first-match jitters out of the way is good and to come out and play as well as we did, I can't be too disappointed."

Avery Larson, Madison Bohlen, Kiersten Bathke, Atlanta Stahle and Olivia Huber each picked up straight-set wins in singles action, dropping more than two points in a set just once.

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With 2017 No. 1 singles player Sammy Pooley gone, Larson debuted in the top singles spot and picked up her first win, although it wasn't easy early on. Brookings' Jane Ardry pushed Larson to the limit in the first set, but the latter was able to prevail, 7-6. That seemed to be a wake-up call, as Larson bounced back to win the tiebreak 7-0 and the second set, 6-0.

"It was her first time playing No. 1 and she came in playing a little tight," Moller said. "She lost a tough deuce to push that first set to a tiebreak and she was really upset with herself. She kind of went through her mind and said, 'OK Avery, this is enough of this' and boy did she turn it on from there."

Meanwhile, Kelsey Dahme, who moved into the No. 2 singles position despite an ailing knee and dropped her first match of the season to Abby Enevoldsen, 4-6, 7-6 (1), 10-7.

Moller was not too concerned about the end result, particularly given each set was a battle. Dahme also came back to team with Larson in No. 1 doubles action to beat Ardry and Enevoldsen in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1.

"Kelsey is recovering from a knee injury and she's going to be there at the end of the year, but she's still in preseason shape and still trying to gain some confidence with that knee," Moller said. "That's gonna come. I expect her to improve throughout the year and she's going to learn from this match. She got better throughout the match and the score shows that."

Bohlen and Bathke scored a win over Marina Du and Tristina Ting in No. 2 doubles, 6-1, 6-1, while the No. 3 pairing of Stahle and Amber Moller cruised to a win over Lynn Foster and Lilly Brandt, 6-0, 6-0.

Mitchell 8, Brookings 1

Monday at Brookings

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Singles: 1. Avery Larson (M) def. Jane Ardry (B), 7-6 (0), 6-0; 2. Abby Enevoldsen (B) def. Kelsey Dahme (M), 6-4, 6-7 (1), 10-7; 3. Madison Bohlen (M) def. Marina Du (B), 6-0, 6-1; 4. Kiersten Bathke def. Tristina Ting (B), 6-2, 6-1; 5. Atlanta Stahle (M) def. Lilly Brandt (B), 6-1, 6-0; 6. Olivia Huber (M) def. Lynn Foster (B), 6-2, 6-1.

Doubles: 1. Avery Larson/Kelsey Dahme (M) def. Jane Ardry.Abby Enevoldsen (B), 6-2, 6-1; 2. Madison Bohlen/Kiersten Bathke (M) def. Marina Du/Tristina Ting (B), 6-1, 6-1; 3. Atlanta Stahle/Amber Moller (M) def. Lynn Foster/Lilly Brandt (B), 6-0, 6-0.

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