Negaunee Finishes 15-0; Esky Tops Iron Mountain

KINGSFORD---The Negaunee Miners girls tennis team finished its regular season with a perfect 15-0 record in dual meets Monday by sweeping Escanaba, 8-0.

The Eskymos bounced back to beat Iron Mountain, 6-2, later in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, in a Great Northern Conference down in Menominee, the Gladstone Braves beat the Menominee Maroons, 5-3.

Monday's Escanaba-Negaunee match was the result of creative scheduling. It was played in Kingsford at 1:00 in the afternoon, as a make-up from last week's rainout in Escanaba. And it was played there because the Eskymos were already scheduled to play in Iron Mountain at 4:00.

"It’s always tough when you lose 8-0, but we know that we get to see this team again at UP Finals on Wednesday, and we’ll have another shot," Escanaba Coach Chris Ogren said. "The whole team understands that today was about getting better, and that our real test will be to play at our absolute best at UP Finals."

One bright spot for Escanaba came at #1 singles, where Sophia Derkos managed to beat Negaunee's Lilly Nelson in the second set, 6-3. Nelson had been perfect all season long, and to her credit, she bounced back to win the third set, 6-2, and her seeding wont be in doubt Wednesday.

Still, Ogren was impressed that Derkos was able to battle a talented player like Nelson.

"Sophia was playing really well today, especially in her second set when she was able to win," Ogren saud. "I’m hoping these two get another chance to play at UP Finals on Wednesday, because these two are great fun to watch."

Otherwise, the Miners were in complete command. Singles players Daylynn Drew and Izzy Kantola were both able to win by scores of 6-4, 6-0, and #4 singles player Jordan Enright cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 win over Sam Manninen.

Three of the Miners doubles teams won in straight sets. The #2 doubles team of Stella Harris and Alex Levra battled Escanaba's Erica Moore and Molly VanDamme. The Eskymo duo won the first set, 6-2, before the Miner pair won the next two, 6-3, 6-2.

ESCANABA 6, IRON MOUNTAIN 2---The Eskymos packed up and drove a few miles to the Iron Mountain courts, and picked up the team victory by winning three singles matches and three doubles matches.

Because of the late time, two matches went to third set tiebreakers, and the Eskymos won both to provide the margin of victory on the team scoreboard.

At #3 singles, Escanaba's Lizzy Sliva outlasted Iron Mountain's Natalia Brown, 6-2, 5-7, 10-5. And the #3 doubles match was even longer, with Esky's Leslie Purcell and Sonya Maki outdueling IM's Anika Cameron and Kensie St. John,  4-6, 7-6 (6-3), 12-10.

"Sonya and Leslie really battled back well after dropping the first set. We also saw a nice third set win at 3 singles from Lizzy Sliva, who has certainly played her fair share of close matches this year," Ogren said. "Overall, the team just looked like they were having a good time out there playing against Iron Mountain. Both teams were very friendly and with UP Finals right around the corner, it was just nice to have one last dual meet without the stakes being too high."

The Mountaineers got a nice win at #2 singles from Aziza Burgoon, 6-4, 6-0, over Escanaba's Natalie Willians. Burgoon was had a great year for the Mountaineers, with only one loss on the season. The IM #2 doubles team of Rediet Husing and Danika Juul also picked up a straight sets victory.