East Ridge boys tennis: Raptors improve to 10-1The Raptors won all three of their matches this week, adding up to a 10-1 overall record and a 6-1 record in the Suburban East Conference.
By: Teresa Townsend, South Washington County Bulletin
Perseverance is paying off for the East Ridge boys tennis team.
The Raptors won all three of their matches this week, adding up to a 10-1 overall record and a 6-1 record in the Suburban East Conference. The week of memorable matches kicked off with a 5-2 victory at Cretin-Derham Hall on Tuesday. The team continued to dominate on the road, picking up a 4-3 win at Forest Lake on Thursday, then the boys finished off the week with a 7-0 win at home against Hill Murray on Friday.
The team’s competitive mentality helped the players to victory throughout the week.
“The team never gave up . . . even in matches that we were down. They played with a lot of heart and determination,” said coach Suzie Heideman.
No. 1 singles player sophomore Zach Nigatu fell 6-7 in his first set against Cretin, bounced back for a 6-4 win in the second, but faltered at the start of the third. After falling behind 0-4, Nigatu pulled it together for a 7-5 win in his final set and gave the Raptors their fourth team point.
Freshman Riley Pratt had his first taste of No. 3 singles for the season.
“Pratt was up 4-0 in his third set, and after Zach won, he got down 4-5. He cramped up and knew the team had won. His teammates started cheering more, and Riley played with a lot of heart and determination to come back and win 7-5 in the third set,” Heideman said, adding, “Any time you beat Cretin, it’s a big win.”
The Raptors’ resolve made all the difference in their 4-3 victory against conference foe Forest Lake. After winning their first set, No. 3 doubles team sophomore Phillip Cai and senior Sayan Roy battled for the Raptors’ final point.
“They ended up winning in memorable fashion in a second-set tiebreaker! They had very long points and hustled for every ball, determined to close it out!” Heideman said.
East Ridge consistently pulled through during close matches to sweep Hill Murray 7-0 the next day. No. 3 doubles duo Cai and sophomore Aaron Christianson started strong with a 6-3 win in the first set, but fell 1-6 in the second. They rebounded for a 6-4 third-set victory.
Nigatu played his second notable match of the week. Down 5-7 after his first set, Nigatu triumphed over a 4-5 deficit to win the second set 7-6. As his teammates watched, Nigatu went on to win 10-8 in a super tiebreaker, giving the Raptors a clean team sweep.
The Raptors play another three matches this week. They saw Simley and Mounds View at home on Monday and Tuesday, and play Hastings at home tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.