Comeback bid falls short for Majettes tennis against Mandan
With a daunting deficit in front of them, the Majettes took their best shot.
The Minot High School girls tennis team had no room for error down the stretch of Saturday’s dual against Mandan at Cameron Indoor Tennis Center after the Braves enforced their will in singles play. Majettes senior Raquel Egge bested Elizabeth Felderman (6-0, 6-4), and freshman Eden Olson followed suit with a win over Kenna Vogel (6-2, 6-2), but that’s where Mandan drew the line.
The Braves claimed the other four matches, giving themselves a comfortable 4-2 lead heading into doubles play. With just three doubles matches on the docket, the home team needed a clean sweep to pull off the comeback. Despite Minot’s (6-2, 2-1 West Region) best efforts, that comeback fell heartbreakingly short, and Mandan (3-0, 2-0 West Region) escaped with a 5-4 dual win.
“We knew it was going to be competitive,” MHS head coach Scott DeLorme said. “We told our girls going in that one team was probably going to win 5-4, and unfortunately Mandan got us today. But we did a lot of good things, and we had chances.”
The Majettes had no trouble claiming the first doubles match of the day, as sisters Raquel Egge and freshman Sofia Egge took care of business against Felderman and Kate Kesler.
Knowing a loss wasn’t an option, the dynamic duo made a statement in the first set with an unblemished 6-0 win. The Egge sisters wouldn’t be denied in the second set either, as they cruised to a 6-2 win to end the match and give Minot the must-have point.
“(Sofia and I) bicker and almost throw rackets at each other sometimes,” Raquel joked. “But today we really worked well together. We didn’t fight, and we focused because we knew the common goal was to win.”
With momentum building, Minot senior Joelle Fettig and Olson added fuel to the fire in their opening set against Mandan’s Elizabeth Allan and McKenzie Ulrich by claiming a 6-2 win.
But, on the court right beside them, the third doubles match was a different story.
After jumping out to a commanding 4-1 lead in the first set, Minot sophomores Sydney Fettig and Morgan Wheeler quickly found themselves in a battle with Mandan’s Sophia Felderman and Breanna Helbling. The Braves duo won five of the next six games to claim a 6-5 advantage and ultimately reach set point.
It’s there that a shot by Sydney Fettig into the net completed the rally, giving Felderman and Helbling a 7-5 win.The two Braves kept rolling in the second set and eventually placed the Majettes on the ropes once more by gaining a 5-2 edge.
Undeterred, Sydney Fettig and Wheeler kept fighting and won the next two games. Wheeler capped off the run in style with an ace that blew past both Mandan players to make it a 5-4 contest. But that’s where the comeback ended.
Now in match point, Helbling capitalized on a lob and spiked it with authority to secure the 6-4 victory and guarantee the Braves’ dual win on the day.
“That’s a learning one right there,” DeLorme said. “Two days ago (Sydney Fettig and Wheeler) were up 5-1 in Williston and they let it slip away to drop the match, and today it was just the opposite. They battled back, and that wouldn’t have happened 48 hours ago. We can use little things like that as learning points to make us better.”
Despite Mandan having already locked up the dual win, Joelle Fettig and Olson kept fighting in the last remaining doubles match. The duo rallied from an early 4-1 deficit in the second set to earn a 6-4 win and end the day on a high note.
“Momentum wise, (the strong doubles play) makes me feel like we can go out there and beat them next time,” Joelle Fettig said. “I think it’s good to get this experience early in the season so we can see where we’re at.”
Minot will try to get back in the win column on Tuesday when it hosts Williston at Hammond Park. The dual is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
Justin Martinez covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JTheSportsDude.