Tennis Tigers play well in Big Nine tourney

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 1, 2002

ROCHESTER &045; The rebuilding project for the Albert Lea High School girls’ tennis team advanced a little farther.

The Tigers, whose four regular-season wins were their most in many years, turned in a strong showing in Saturday’s Big Nine Conference tournament at Rochester. They finished seventh among 10 teams but were only a point away from sixth, and brought home a fourth place and two consolation championships.

&uot;We played well in all the positions,&uot; said coach Sean Gillam. &uot;It was especially good to go out there and play well. We opened a lot of eyes.&uot;

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Senior Jasey Porter finished fourth at No. 3 singles. After opening with a 7-5, 6-3 win over a Mankato East player, she dropped a three-set match to an Owatonna opponent 2-6, 7-5, 6-2, then fell 6-0, 6-0 to the top seed from Austin. Porter lost 6-3, 6-3 to a Rochester John Marshall girl in the third-place match.

&uot;Jasey had a real good day, pulling out two big wins and scoring a lot of points for the team,&uot; said Gillam.

Karen Leonard won the consolation title at No. 2 singles. She drew a bye in the first round, then was swept by the top seed from Rochester Mayo. Leonard bounced back to beat a Mankato West player 8-1 and, in the consolation title match, defeated an Owatonna foe 9-7.

The other consolation title was by Amanda Rose and Kristin Wolff at No. 2 doubles. They had a bye before falling 6-0, 6-1 to the second-seeded team from Winona. They won 6-2, 6-4 over a Rochester JM pair in the consolation semifinals and defeated a Faribault duo 8-3 in the finals.

Nicole Merfeld and Elizabeth Schreiber dropped both their No. 3 doubles matches, falling 6-2, 6-4 to a pair from Mankato West and 6-1, 6-2 to a Mankato East team.

Elizabeth Thompson won 6-0, 6-1 over a Faribault player in the first round at No. 4 singles but was eliminated 6-4, 6-3 by a Rochester JM opponent.

The Tigers’ No. 1 singles player, Becky Birkhofer, was absent and had to forfeit her first-round match to a Faribault girl she defeated earlier this season.