Boys Tennis: East Ridge advances to 3AA sectional semifinals
WOODBURY—The East Ridge Raptors came into the 3AA boys tennis sectionals as the No. 1 seed.
They showed why they're the top seed with a 5-2 win over the No. 9-seed South Saint Paul Sir Lions on Thursday night.
Coming into sectionals, the Raptors were 16-4 and had their sights on not only sectionals, but state. East Ridge finished second at the state tournament last season.
Now 17-4, East Ridge is one step closer and two matches away from reaching the state tournament.
Even though that's the goal, that's not the focus for head coach Suzie Heideman.
"We need to focus on each point and each match," Heideman said. "Our sectionals is tough, so we need to focus on the next opponent."
Heideman said South Saint Paul opened her eyes to the competition level that East Ridge will be facing throughout the rest of the season. She's just hoping the Raptors players understand the competition level.
The Raptors started off strong with critical wins in the first set. Out of the seven matches played, six of the East Ridge players earned that key first set win. Out of those six wins, only one resulted in a loss for the Raptors.
Once the first four matches ended, the Raptors had the victory in the bag with a 4-0 score. For Eric Duliere and Filip Belik, the No. 3 doubles for East Ridge, it only took fixing problems right away to capture the 6-1, 6-0 victory.
"We didn't get down on a simple mistake and that led to our success," Duliere said. "We need to keep that mentality for the upcoming matches because it will help us in the future."
The Raptors were led once again by the top three singles players with straight two-set wins and all starting the match with a 6-0 first-set win.
That score extended into the No. 2 singles match as sophomore Caleb Fridinger finished the match strong with a 6-0, 6-0 win. Senior Elias Ramirez, the No. 1 singles player, and eighth grader Luke Fridinger, the No. 3 singles player, finished 6-3 and 6-4 second set wins respectively.
"Just being focused and that's my main thing," Ramirez said. "If I'm focused and locked in and determined to win, I can play confidently."
Ramirez was locked in along with the East Ridge Raptors team capturing its 17th victory of the season and starting to prepare for the sectional semifinals.
The team is excited to continue playing this spring season, but also know this isn't the end goal for the Raptors.
"We are very excited to keep this season going," Belik said. "We also know that we need to work hard at every practice because we need our very best with each match the rest of this season."
The East Ridge Raptors will be playing on Monday, May 21 at 3:30 p.m. over at the Woodbury High School tennis courts for a chance to play in the sectional finals on Wednesday, May 23.
"You play how you practice," Heideman said. "So if you come into practice and don't give it our all we can't expect to give our best in that next match. So tomorrow's practice is going to be very important."
South Saint Paul vs. East Ridge Results
No. 1: Elias Ramirez (East Ridge) defeats Andres Fernandez (South Saint Paul) 6-0, 6-3
No. 2: Caleb Fridinger (East Ridge) defeats Michael Lomax (South Saint Paul) 6-0, 6-0
No. 3: Luke Fridinger (East Ridge) defeats Oliver Nordlie (South Saint Paul) 6-0, 6-4
No. 4: Adam Burke (South Saint Paul) defeats Jeffrey Deng (East Ridge) 4-6, 6-4, 10-8
No. 1: Cameron Rahn / Emanuel Bonilla (South Saint Paul) defeats Sujay Garlapati / Filippo Ugolotti (East Ridge) 6-4, 6-3
No. 2: Subbarao Garlapati / Eli van der Sman (East Ridge) defeats Joesph Gerten / Alex Mamer (South Saint Paul) 7-5, 6-2
No. 3: Eric Duliere / Filip Belik (East Ridge) defeats Francis Salkowicz / Henry Hagen (South Saint Paul) 6-1, 6-0