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Boys Tennis: East Ridge heads to 3AA sectional finals

Sophomore Caleb Fridinger fought hard in his match to earn the victory and give East Ridge the 5-2 victory over Eagan. The Raptors will play Eastview on Wednesday for a chance to go to the state tournament. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Senior Eric Duliere stays focused on the ball after coming closer to the net. He won his match with Filip Belik 6-0, 6-0 and East Ridge won the match 5-2 against Eagan in the 3AA sectional quarterfinals. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
Senior captain Elias Ramirez had his match go into a third set, which he lost the close match. East Ridge won as a team 5-2 over Eagan to advance to the 3AA sectional final on Wednesday. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

After the 5-2 win in the 3AA sectional quarterfinals last Thursday, East Ridge's head coach Suzie Heideman said she wanted more intensity from her players for the semifinals.

Well, her team heard her request loud and clear and showed it on Monday with another 5-2 win over No. 4-seed Eagan.

There were many shouts across the tennis courts after a point or match was won. The majority of shouts came from the doubles area of the courts where the Raptors swept the Wildcats one, two, three to not only take the lead, but win the match for East Ridge.

"Yeah, I could definitely see the intensity out of each player," Heideman said with a smile on her face. "We need to drive that intensity into each match from now on."

Heideman said she was proud of how the doubles pairings worked well with each other and established an East Ridge presence from the first point of the match.

The doubles might've obtained a sweep, but the singles had some solid performances that they hope to carry into the sectional finals on Wednesday.

The two brothers, Caleb and Luke Fridinger, won each of their matches at No. 2 and 3 singles respectively. For Caleb Fridinger, it took a third set to win it, while Luke Fridinger finished the match with a 6-3, 6-4 win.

It was a big learning moment for Caleb Fridinger as he faced a 5-3 deficit in the second set and tied it at 6-6 before losing the tiebreaker.

"Those types of matches help me realize that if you take it one point at a time, you can get back in the match," Caleb Fridinger said. "It's a confidence boost heading into the finals."

Even though the Raptors are excited about playing in the sectional finals, the team knows this isn't the finish line for them. Their goals include a trip to the state tournament just like last season.

Heideman said the team had their banquet last night and there was discussion about the program and the legacy it has for past, present and future tennis players. She knows this team is capable of making a run at state, but the focus needs to be on Eastview for the 4 p.m. match on Wednesday at Lifetime Fitness in Lakeville.

Eastview is looking for revenge after a close loss to East Ridge during the season this year. Heideman and the Raptors team understands what's at stake and is excited to be back on the courts in a couple of days.

"This is when we need to play our best tennis," Heideman said. "I've been starting to see that, which is encouraging heading into our biggest match of our season."

East Ridge has seen two complete opposites for weather as Thursday was sunny and hot and Monday was cold and cloudy. With two days until the match, senior captain Subbarao Garlapati is expecting each player to stay focused on the task at hand until they've reached their goal for the season.

"Intensity is going to be huge for us on Wednesday and it needs to come from every player," Garlapati said. "It's going to be a tough match for a state tournament on the line."

Eagan vs. East Ridge Results

Singles:

No. 1: Maxim Zagrebelny (Eagan) defeats Elias Ramirez (East Ridge) 7-6, 4-6, 10-7

No. 2: Caleb Fridinger (East Ridge) defeats Allen Gong (Eagan) 6-1, 7-6

No. 3: Luke Fridinger (East Ridge) defeats Benjamin Schriner (Eagan) 6-3, 6-4

No. 4: Kennan Li (Eagan) defeats Jeffrey Deng (East Ridge) 6-2, 6-1

Doubles:

No. 1: Filippo Ugolotti / Sujay Garlapati (East Ridge) defeats Christopher Lo / Louis Klausner (Eagan) 6-3, 6-3

No. 2: Subbarao Garlapati / Eli van der Sman (East Ridge) defeats Seth Prokop / Adrien Decattoire (Eagan) 6-1, 6-0

No. 3: Eric Duliere / Filip Belik (East Ridge) defeats Parker Swanson / Joshua Cairns (Eagan) 6-0, 6-0

Brian Mozey

I am the sports writer for the Woodbury Bulletin and South Washington County Bulletin. I'm a graduate from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Iowa State University and have always had a passion for sports since a young age. Whether it was watching or playing sports, I always knew sports would be in my career. I've been born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis and look forward to continuing to learn more about the Woodbury and Cottage Grove area throughout my time in this position. 

(651) 301-7859
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