ST. CLOUD — The Tech boys tennis team opened up its team section tournament on Wednesday with a home match against Monticello.
The Tigers hadn’t played Monticello all season, but the players and coaches knew it was going to be a competitive match. Tech came in as the No. 2 South seed and Monticello the No. 3 South seed.
The Magic had to earn the 7-0 win over Big Lake in the opening round of the Section 8AA tournament, but Tech had a bye on Monday. The rest helped helped the Tigers as Tech finished with a 6-1 win to advance to the Section 8AA semifinals.
“It was a great win for our players because we knew it was going to be a good match,” said Tech head coach Paul Bates. “Since we hadn’t played them this season, there was more questions as we prepared for this match.”
It started with a lot of confidence from the Tech players. Michael Plombon said the team came in with positivity and confidence as they knew to was going to be a close match.
The 6-1 final score doesn’t explain how close this match was between these two teams. The first point went to Ripley Garden and Max Rud at No. 2 doubles for Tech.
The two of them were able to close out the first set 6-4. That momentum carried into the second set as the two Tigers worked off each other to earn the 6-2 second-set win.
The second point for Tech came from Plombon at No. 1 singles with a strong match against Tyler Rousslang, who’s the No. 1 South seed for individual sections this weekend.
Plombon fought a back-and-forth match in the first set, but was able to close it out with a 6-4 victory. He carried that momentum into the second set and was able to finish with a 6-3 second-set win.
“He was hitting deep so I was trying to hit them deep and keep it in play,” Plombon said. “I was able to get some passing shots down the line when he was up at the net.”
The winning streak continued as Andrew Plombon and Ben Nelson came out with the victory at No. 1 doubles and Emilio Estevez claimed the victory at No. 3 singles. This early start gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead over Monticello and clinched the team win on Wednesday.
Andrew Plombon and Nelson lost the first set 6-3, but came back firing in the second set to win 6-0. They kept that pace in the third set to overcome the first-set loss and win 6-2 to claim the overall victory.
Estevez handled the first set well with a 6-3 win, but it became a nail-biter in the second set. The two of them went back-and-forth on winning games until Estevez won two games in a row to make it 6-5. Then, he fought through a earned the 7-5 win to claim the fourth and crucial point for the Tigers.
“It was a great team win from everyone and they’re looking forward to playing next week,” Bates said.
The other two wins for Tech came from Gavin Fenstad at No. 2 singles where he came from behind to win the last two sets. He lost 6-3 in the first set, but won 6-4 to head into a decisive third set. Fenstad won 7-5 in a close final set to earn the overall win.
Finally, Ben Eiynck and Jonah Atkinson also came from behind in No. 3 doubles to win the sixth point. After losing 6-4 in the first set, the two of them fought back and won 6-4 in the second set. They kept that momentum to win 6-3 in the third set.
Tomiwa Ajayi lost in No. 4 singles in a three-set battle. Now, the Tigers are gearing up for a rematch against Alexandria in the semifinals.
Alexandria, the No. 1 North seed, lost to Tech in a 6-1 final score on May 11. The Tigers are looking to keep its undefeated record against the Cardinals next week.
“That [Alexandria] match was closer than what the score showed,” Bates said. “We will have a tough match next week.”
For now, the focus is shifted to individual section tournaments this weekend as many of the Tech players will be playing in singles and doubles competition.
Michael Plombon will be playing with his brother, Andrew Plombon, in the doubles tournament on Saturday. The Tigers will remain focused on the team goal, but also focus on individuals too.
“I’m excited to play this weekend with my brother,” Michael Plombon said. “It’s been the plan for two years, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Tech will play Alexandria at noon on Wednesday for the Section 8AA semifinals. The location hasn’t been determined yet, but the winner between Tech and Alexandria will face off against the winner of Becker and Bemidji.
Becker and Bemidji are the other No. 1 and 2 seeds in the tournament, so the top four teams have reached the semifinals. The section finals will take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Tech High School.
Tech vs. Monticello Results
No. 1 Michael Plombon St. Cloud Tech def Tyler Rousslang MONTICELLO SENIOR HIGH 6-4 , 6-3 , –
No. 2 Gavin Fenstad St. Cloud Tech def Henry Sawatzke MONTICELLO SENIOR HIGH 3-6 , 6-4 , 7-5
No. 3 Emilio Estevez St. Cloud Tech def Dylan Roiger MONTICELLO SENIOR HIGH 6-3 , 7-5 , –
No. 4 Wyatt Kadelbach MONTICELLO SENIOR HIGH def Tomiwa Ajayi St. Cloud Tech 0-6 , 6-1 , 6-4
No. 1 Andrew Plombon St. Cloud Tech Ben Nelson St. Cloud Tech def Johnny May MONTICELLO SENIOR HIGH Jackson Bianchi MONTICELLO SENIOR HIGH 3-6 , 6-0 , 6-2
No. 2 Max Rud St. Cloud Tech Ripley Garden St. Cloud Tech def Ryan Schyma MONTICELLO SENIOR HIGH Levi Vanderlinden MONTICELLO SENIOR HIGH 6-4 , 6-2 , –
No. 3 Ben Eiynck St. Cloud Tech Jonah Atkinson St. Cloud Tech def Daniel Homsombath MONTICELLO SENIOR HIGH Jacob Roden MONTICELLO SENIOR HIGH 4-6 , 6-4 , 6-3