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Girls tennis: Holm powers No. 2 doubles win in Brainerd loss

Alexandria sophomore Brianna Holm (left) sends over a serve alongside junior Joria Downing in Thursday's 6-1 loss to Brainerd at AAHS. Holm and Downing won their No. 2 doubles matchup 7-6, 6-4. (Micah Friez / Echo Press)1 / 3
Alexandria sophomore Sarah Jiang winds up for a return in Thursday's 6-1 loss to Brainerd at AAHS. (Micah Friez / Echo Press)2 / 3
Alexandria sophomore Whitly Netland follows through after returning a ball in an exhibition match against Brainerd on Thursday at AAHS. (Micah Friez / Echo Press)3 / 3

Brianna Holm has found a home at the top singles spot for the Alexandria girls tennis team this season. But even though a recent shoulder injury moved her into a No. 2 doubles role alongside Joria Downing on Thursday, it wasn’t out of the sophomore’s comfort zone.

“She plays a lot of doubles in the offseason, so putting her in doubles is nothing new for her,” Cardinals head coach Dave Ronning said. “She played a lot of doubles as a freshman. … Not a big change for her. No big deal.”

Holm and Downing made the most of the lineup change, taking a 7-6, 6-4 win over Brainerd’s Jaycie Hinrichs and Lily Jones. It was the lone bright spot for Alex, who fell 6-1 to the Warriors’ powerhouse program.

“They’re a really good team,” Holm said. “I think that we can improve ourselves from this match and look at it that way, instead of being discouraged that we lost. Now we have more opportunities to be better.”

With Holm out of the singles lineup, all the other Cardinals had to move up a spot. It made things difficult for Alexandria (7-4) against an already potent Brainerd team.

The Warriors (13-0) swept the singles matchups. At No. 1, Britney Fletcher took down Laura Wilmesmeier 6-2, 6-0, and Kate Kurtzman followed through a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Annie Harding at No. 2. Audrey Collins and Kate Chaussee added wins at Nos. 3 and 4 singles, respectively, beating Sarah Jiang 6-2, 6-1 and Megan Van Gaal 6-2, 6-3.

“I felt the girls fought hard and gave it a good effort,” Ronning said, “but Brainerd is simply a very good team and solid up and down their lineup.”

On the doubles side, Taya Person and Heidi Jacobson topped Alexandria’s Madison Ressemann and Abby Sater in the top slot. The Warriors also won at No. 3 doubles, Ally Goeden and Addie Sanford beating out Kaylee Svee and Taylor Sayre 6-1, 6-3.

The Holm/Downing match allowed the Cardinals to dodge a sweep.

“Brianna and Joria picked up the lone point at second doubles with aggressive play and a solid game plan,” Ronning said. “That’s why we got a win there.”

Although Holm has played doubles in the past, it took a bit of adjusting in order for her to help pull off the win. But the transition quickly worked out.

“Singles and doubles are a lot different. I’m not quite as used to (doubles) as I used to be, but I still know the strategies,” Holm said. “I just needed to lay off the shoulder a little bit, but I do know how to play doubles. It’s fun. I like it a lot.”

Alexandria will return to action at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Apollo/Sauk Rapids-Rice. Ronning is hoping Thursday’s test against Brainerd will pay off down the road.

“The kids’ goal is to get better every day,” he said. “I’m just hoping that they’ve felt like they have done something to get better.”


SINGLES -- No. 1: Britney Fletcher (B) def. Laura Wilmesmeier 6-2, 6-0; No. 2: Kate Kurtzman (B) def. Annie Harding 6-0, 6-2; No. 3: Audrey Collins (B) def. Sarah Jiang 6-2, 6-1; No. 4: Kate Chaussee (Brd) def. Megan Van Gaal 6-2, 6-3.

DOUBLES -- No. 1: Taya Person/Heidi Jacobson (B) def. Madison Ressemann/Abi Sater 6-2, 6-2; No. 2: Brianna Holm/Joria Downing (A) def. Jaycie Hinrichs/Lily Jones 7-6, 6-4; No. 3: Ally Goeden/Addie Sanford (Brd) def. Kaylee Svee/Taylor Sayre 6-1, 6-3.

Micah Friez

Micah Friez covers Bemidji State basketball and BSU for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Beaver basketball updates.

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