The Milbank Lady Bulldogs swept Aberdeen Roncalli to claim the Northeast Conference championship title for the second year in a row. Milbank downed Roncalli... Milbank Netters Win Conference Championship Title

_dsc0072The Milbank Lady Bulldogs swept Aberdeen Roncalli to claim the Northeast Conference championship title for the second year in a row. Milbank downed Roncalli 6-3 Tuesday, September 27, to earn the team honor.

“The title did not come without a tight battle,” stated Bulldog head tennis coach Jim Dahl. In doubles play, Roncalli appeared to have the edge in two of the three matches. Sarah Jarman and Halli Essington won handily in straight sets at their number three position.

Jodi and Jamie DeVaal, at number two doubles, lost their first set before turning things around and winning the second at 6-4. After being down 1-5 in the tie break, they came back to win nine of the last 12 points in crunch time to lift the Lady Bulldogs to 2-1 after doubles play. “That was big for us in the match and the crowd gave them an ovation after the comeback,” explained Dahl. “I know our players appreciated the fan support, especially the four seniors who are in their final homecoming week.”

In singles play, Tatiana Stemsrud, Jodi DeVaal, Jarman and Essington each secured a victory for Milbank. “Tatiana and Sarah avenged earlier season losses to their Roncalli opponents, which was huge for them,” said Dahl. “I am extremely proud of the girls.

Following are the results from the Roncalli match:
Milbank 6, Aberdeen Roncalli 3
1. Paige Johnson fell to Madison Sumner, 6-3, 7-6(2); 2. Tatiana Stemsrud defeated Emma Gallagher, 0-6, 6-4 (10-8); 3. Jodi DeVaal won over Ellie Litzen, 6-4, 6-3; 4. Jamie DeVaal fell to Shelby Weig, 6-1, 7-5; 5. Sarah Jarman downed Mariah Bradner, 6-0, 6-2; 6. Halli Essington defeated Ali Muller, 6-2, 6-4.
1. Johnson/Stemsrud fell to Sumner/Gallagher, 6-2, 6-2; 2. DeVaal/DeVaal won over Litzen/Weig, 3-6, 6-4 (10-8); 3. Jarman/Essington downed Bradner/Muller, 6-3, 6-1.

The Lady Bulldog tennis team split matches with Brookings and Yankton at the Brookings triangular Saturday, September 24.

In the first match of the day, Milbank slipped past Brookings 5-4. Jodi DeVaal, Jamie DeVaal, Jarman and Essington secured wins in their singles matches while Jarman and Essington were successful in their number three doubles match. “We were very happy to get the ‘W’ over Brookings,” noted Dahl. “All of our players had a nice effort including Jenna Johnson with a junior varsity win. With just a couple of tough breaks and close losses, we would have met our team regular season goal by now. I can’t give enough credit to the girls and the way they work day in and day out against the challenging one-class system for tennis in South Dakota.”

In the locals second match of the day, the Lady Bulldog fell 7-2 to Yankton. Essington secured the lone victory in singles play. She matched up with partner, Jarman, to win in doubles as well. “Halli placed the ball extremely well,” said Dahl. “We played well enough to go 2-0 on the day, but faltered in crunch time. We have to get on the fast track learning curve and put sets away. It seemed at key moments we played not to lose rather than take the bull by the horns and win. You have got to go after it at times and shorten up the points where the opportunities present themselves.”

The team has one dual match remaining and are working hard in preparation for the state tennis tournament slated for October 6-8. “I was proud of the girls efforts throughout the day, especially considering that four of the six have nagging injuries they are battling to overcome. We could use some badly needed healing time. I admire the way these girls put it on the line with these injuries each day.”

Following are the complete results from the Brookings Triangular:
Milbank 5, Brookings 4
1. Paige Johnson fell to Jane Ardry, 10-8; 2. Tatiana Stemsrud lost to Abby Eneraldsen, 10-7; 3. Jodi DeVaal defeated Skylor Ness, 11-9; 4. Jamie DeVaal won over Ziyi Zou, 10-2; 5. Sarah Jarman downed Mariana Du, 10-3; 6. Halli Essington shut out Tristina Ting, 10-0.
1. Johnson/Stemsrud fell to Ardry/Eneroldsen, 10-8; 2. DeVaal/DeVaal lost to Ness/Zou, 10-6; 3. Jarman/Essington defeated Du/Ting, 10-3.
Junior Varsity
Rhianna Cantine fell to Kia Witt, 10-4; Jenna Johnson won over Dhwani Kharel, 10-6; Cantine/J. Johnson dropped to Witt/Kharel, 10-6.
Milbank 2, Yankton 7
1. Paige Johnson fell to Anne Knoff, 10-3; 2. Tatiana Stemsrud lost to Josephine Krajewski, 10-7; 3. Jodi DeVaal dropped to Sophie Kouri, 10-8; 4. Jamie DeVaal fell to Olivia Tennant, 11-9; 5. Sarah Jarman lost to Anna Kokesh, 10-0; 6. Halli Essington won over Maddi Binder, 10-6.
1. Johnson/Stemsrud fell to Knoff/Krajewski, 10-0; 2. DeVaal/DeVaal lost to Kouri/Tennant, 10-8; 3. Jarman/Essington defeated Binder/Brenna Becker, 10-5.
Junior Varsity
Rhianna Cantine fell to Peyton Tramp, 10-2; Jenna Johnson lost to Brenna Becker, 10-7; Cantine/J. Johnson fell to Kokesh/Tramp, 10-0.

Pictured is the number one doubles team of Paige Johnson and Tatiana Stemsrud.

Staff Writer

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