HIBBING — Last year, Hibbing juniors Ryan Osborne and Carter Anderson took on Jonathan Onigkeit and Thomas Eckel in the consolation final at the State Class A Individual Doubles Tournament.
The Bluejacket duo fell to the twosome from Rochester Lourdes 7-5, 6-2.
If both of those teams were to make it back into the 2019 tournament, the odds of them meeting again would be 6.6-percent.
Both Anderson and Osborne and Onigkeit and Eckel made it back to the state doubles meet, and those odds were good as they will be meeting for a second time in a first-round State Class A doubles match, beginning at 10 a.m., at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
Hibbing coach Gary Conda knows what his doubles team is in for.
“Rochester Lourdes, that one is going to be tough, but they’re all tough down there,” Conda said. “It’s going to come down to whether we can volley or not, and whether we can take the net against these guys.
“Against Virginia, we couldn’t control the net. We have to do a better job of that. If we do that, we’ll be fine. They (Onigkeit and Eckel) serve extremely well. That will make a difference, but we have to follow our serves and returns to keep the pressure on them.”
Osborne, for one, remembers that match distinctly.
“One of the kids had a big kick serve, and it was hard to serve back,” Osborne said. “He used that in the second set, and that’s where they beat us. That’s what won the match. It was kind of close in the beginning, but in the second set…
“Carter and I are better this year and stronger in doubles. That, will, hopefully, help us out affect that knowing we can win because it was close last year. We know we’re better.”
Anderson, on the other hand, doesn’t remember too much about that match., but he’s looking forward to the rematch.
“It’ll be nice to, hopefully, get some revenge,” Anderson said. “We have to play our game and go from there. I don’t remember much at all about that match, but one of them had a good forehand. That was about it. We have to take it one match at a time. We have to take it slow. I’ve improved a lot from last year, and Ryan has to. It should be an interesting match because they’ve improved, too.”
The key, according to Osborne, is staying cool, calm and collected.
“We can’t get angry or frustrated,” Osborne said. “We have to keep our composure. We have to play our tennis. They probably do get to practice all year, and they probably play only one sport, too.
“That might play a factor in it, but if it goes well, we’ll win. If not, we’ll be back in the consolation bracket again.”
No matter how the match goes, they both agree on one thing, it’s a nice way to end their senior seasons on the Bluejacket tennis squad.
“It’s unreal. It’s a fond memory,” Anderson said. “We’re hoping to do a lot down there.”
Osborne said, “This feels incredible just to know that we were good enough to make it. We finished strong. To make it to the tournament as seniors, that feels better than last year.”