DULUTH — The Virginia girls’ tennis team got their season started Saturday with a pair of matches in Duluth. In the end, they came out 1-1 with a win over Simley and a close loss to Duluth East.

In their opening match with the Spartans, the Blue Devils cruised in doubles, winning all three matches while also picking up three wins out of four in singles.

At No. 1 doubles, Jacie Smith and Anneka Lundgren opened up their seasons with a straight sets win over Simley’s Shelli Muller and Cayla Frieman, 7-5, 6-4. The No. 2 doubles pair of Izzy Baggenstoss and Jayda Westerbur dispatched Erin Borchard and Sara Borchard despite giving up the first set, 7-5. They bounced back in the second, winning 7-6 and then took the third set tiebreaker, 10-3.

At No. 3 doubles, Megan Kingston and Abby Moore dropped their first set in a tiebreaker, 7-6(3) but were nearly perfect in the final two sets, winning them 6-0 and 6-1 to take the match.

“We played extremely well in the doubles against Simley,” Virginia head coach Jeff Mauston said. “Our doubles stepped up in that match which was a great thing to see at the start of the season.”

In singles, Virginia’s top player, Ava Warren, cruised to a straight sets win over Clara Thoemke, 6-2, 6-2. Teammate Anna Seitz grabbed a point at No. 2 singles, defeating Catie Thoemke, 6-3, 6-1.

Mary Skorich cruised to victory in her No. 3 singles match with the Spartans’ Anna Ahern, winning 6-0, 6-0. The Devils’ only loss in their first match came at No. 4 singles with Simley’s Jenna Bezek getting the best of Virginia’s Sydney Cope-Robinson in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1.

In their second match of the day, Virginia faced a tougher AA team in Duluth East. Winless against the Greyhounds in recent memory, the Devils had their opportunities to take the match, but ultimately fell 4-3.

At No. 1 Singles, Duluth East junior Aili Hietala cruised past Mary Skorich, 6-0, 6-0. Megan Kingston grabbed the Devils a point in singles, winning at the No. 2 spot over Catherine Karakas, 6-4, 6-2.

At No. 3 Singles, Sydney Cope-Robinson went to three sets with her East opponent, Cursta Dimberio, but couldn’t pull out the win, falling 6-1, 3-6, 10-8. Virginia grabbed the last singles point at the No. 4 spot, with Ava Fink picking up her first win at the varsity level over Elley Graysmark, 6-3, 6-0.

On the doubles side, Ava Warren and Anna Seitz teamed up at the No. 1 spot and got a straight sets win over Shay Callaway and Greta Anderson, 6-2, 6-3.

Virginia wasn’t as successful at the other two doubles spots with Jacie Smith and Anneka Lundgren falling to Maggie Payette and Annabelle Humphreys at the No. 2 spot (6-1, 6-2), and Izzy Baggenstoss and Jayda Westerbur losing in third set tiebreak to the Greyhounds’ Saijal Vacek and Ally Johnson (4-6, 6-4, [10-8]).

With the close loss, Mauston said his team had some opportunities to get the crucial fourth point, but ultimately played very strong against a tough team.

“We really could have beaten them. We had two tiebreakers we didn’t win and that was the difference. We haven’t beaten East in quite some time but they’re a real good AA team.”

Hoping to use some lineup strategy to get the win against Duluth East, Mauston said his plan fell a bit short.

“We tried to load up our doubles with Anna and Ava at the top spot but the rest struggled a bit this time around.”

Two matches in the books, Mauston noted he was very pleased with the efforts of Megan Kingston and Ava Fink.

“Megan had a good day for us and that win at No. 2 singles really helped us. Ava Fink played her first match for us at No. 4 singles and got a very nice win for us there.”

Blue Devil tennis will stay busy next week with quadrangular meets scheduled in Hibbing, Virginia and Litchfield.

“We had a good first week of practice,” Mauston said. “The kids are anxious to get things going and it looks like we have a couple of spots in our lineup to fill but about 10 kids to fill them. We’re pretty excited with how things are looking.”

Virginia 6, Simley 1

Singles: No. 1 Ava Warren, V, def. Clara Thoemke, S, 6-2, 6-2; No. 2 Anna Seitz, V, def. Catie Thoemke, S, 6-3, 6-1; No. 3 Mary Skorich, V, def. Anna Ahern, S, 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 Jenna Bezek, S, def. Sydney Cope-Robinson, V, 6-1, 6-1.

Doubles: No. 1 Jacie Smith/Anneka Lundgren, V, def. Shelli Muller/Cayla Frieman, S, 7-5, 6-4; No. 2 Izzy Baggenstoss/Jayda Westerbur, V, def. Erin Borchard/Sara Borchard, S, 5-7, 7-6, [10-3]; No. 3 Megan Kingston/Abby Moore, V, def. Carissa Thomas/Nicole Estephan, S, 6(3)-7, 6-0, 6-1.

Duluth East 4, Virginia 3

Singles: No. 1 Aili Hietala, DE, def. Mary Skorich, V, 6-0, 6-0; No. 2 Megan Kingston, V, def. Catherine Karakas, DE, 6-4, 6-2; No. 3 Cursta Dimberio, DE, def. Sydney Cope-Robinson, V, 6-1, 3-6, [10-8]; No. 4 Ava Fink, V, def. Elley Graysmark, DE, 6-3, 6-0.

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