Majettes edge Coyotes in competitive non-counter

It was a non-counter duel – and a rematch is just on the horizon – but make no mistake, Minot High’s girls tennis team’s win over Williston on Monday at Hammond Park was a big one.

“I was really impressed with how we played,” Minot coach Scott DeLorme said. “I told our girls beforehand – and I’ll admit this – I thought Williston was the second best team in the West Region and I still think they are. They bring everybody back from last year and we lost a few, but 1-10 I thought we were really impressive and I was happy with it.”

The Majettes edged the Coyotes 4-3 in an adjusted scoring system where each athlete played either doubles or singles, but not both.

Three of the seven matches – either singles or doubles – went to a third set, but one that didn’t was the No. 1 doubles match between Minot sophomores Gwen Mathews and Kali Askvig and Williston’s Bethanie Pippin and Jocci Lysne.

Askvig and Mathews won in two, but the first set was a 7-6 tiebreaker win.

“We knew to get the win we needed to focus a lot and not give up many points and we went in and did just that,” Mathews said.

The second set was well on its way to being another nail biter, however, Askvig and Mathews closed, winning three straight games for the win.

“I think they were just a little more aggressive in that second set,” DeLorme said. “We talked after the first set and about setting up nice approach shots. Just a nice deep ball in a corner and then coming in and attacking. Those two are both athletic and very strong, so we want to get those two to the net as soon as possible, and kind of be an intimidation factor, and they did a pretty good job of that in the second set.”

Freshman Raquel Egge and sophomore Taylor Nygaard also needed just two sets to dispatch their opponents in the No. 2 and 4 singles matches.

Egge won back-to-back 6-2 sets and she’s lost just one set this year in singles.

“She’s hit more tennis balls since the end of last year than anyone else and she’s just so steady,” DeLorme said. “She doesn’t do anything fancy. She just stands at the base line and as an opponent you expect to dictate things, but Raquel dictates the points, she moves you side-to-side, front-to-back and her consistency is unmatched. She’s having a great year.”

No. 2 doubles – featuring Minot sophomore Alyssa Henson and freshman Joelle Fettig – rallied after dropping the first set to win the next two, the last of which was a back-and-forth 7-5 win.

“Joelle is becoming a steady force for us in doubles,” DeLorme said. “She’s our No. 7 singles player, and she’s turned into a very good doubles player and she’s very confident in everything she does. Alyssa has all the strokes we’ve been really focusing on her consistency because she has the strokes and she can be awfully good at times, but sometimes she tries to hit the ball too hard. Towards the end of that doubles match she played some smart tennis and it was effective.”

Minot may be young – with no seniors and just two juniors on the team – but the Majettes haven’t lost a region match yet and Mathews believes this could be a special year.

“I think we’ve improved a lot so far,” she said. “We are a real young team and I think we will be really good come state.”

The Majettes travel to Williston and play these same Coyotes today at 4 p.m.

John Denega covers Minot High athletics, Minot State softball and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @JohnDenega_MDN.