Mustangs solve Maple Grove to clinch state berth

Hunter Krebsbach

Hunter Krebsbach

All eyes were on the singles matches in last week’s Section 5AA boys tennis final between Mounds View and Maple Grove. The Mustangs needed to come up with just one victory in those four matches to get past the Crimson and advance to the state tournament.

As the contest wore on, it appeared that junior Hunter Krebsbach was Mounds View’s best hope at securing a singles victory. Krebsbach buoyed the Mustangs’ hopes by winning the first set against Maple Grove’s Charlie Adkins. As the second set progressed, Mounds View had already clinched two points thanks to victories by its top two doubles tandems and the third doubles team wasn’t far from wrapping up point No. 3.

That meant that if Krebsbach could close out Adkins, the Mustangs would have their fourth point and a date in the state tournament. When Krebsbach secured the winning point, his teammates who were already done for the day rushed the court.

“It felt so great,” Krebsbach said. “After I won, I couldn’t stop shaking.”

The 6-4, 6-2 victory snapped Maple Grove’s two-year hold on the Section 5AA title and sent Mounds View to the state tournament for the first time since 2011.

“I was talking to Hunter today during school and I really thought I saw a focus in him I haven’t seen,” said senior co-captain Henry Morris. “He was just locked in. I could tell he wanted it more than ever and I think that attitude led directly into how he played today.”

This is the fourth consecutive year Mounds View and Maple Grove have met in the section final. The Mustangs won in 2011 but Maple Grove turned the table in 2012 and 2013.

The Crimson also beat Mounds View 4-3 during the regular season this spring by winning all four singles matches. Krebsbach also faced Adkins that day and lost 6-1, 6-0 so his win last week was a huge turnaround.

“That’s probably the worst match I played all season,” Krebsbach said in reference to the earlier loss to Adkins. “I just really stepped it up today. I was just really fighting for it because I was willing to do anything to win. I didn’t care if this match lasted three hours; I was going to get every ball and make him miss.”

Mounds View head coach Mike Cartwright was impressed with his team’s performance in a pressure-filled match.

“We were really focused,” Cartwright said. “We haven’t played our best the last two years in this match and Maple Grove’s played great. Today, we just played stronger, better, more focused, more aggressive, controlled. We weren’t crazy out there just trying to crush winners. We played smart.”

Mounds View picked up its first point via its second doubles team as Griffin Anderson and Austin Wiegert cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 victory. Morris and Carter Jones, playing at No. 1 doubles, won 6-3, 6-4 to secure point No. 2. Krebsbach’s point was actually the third one of the match, but was the biggest since Andrew Tang and Petro Alex weren’t that far away from wrapping up a 6-4, 6-2 win at third doubles.

Mounds View ended up adding two more points as third and fourth singles players Jake Trondson and Abe Alex, respectively, rallied from a set down to win. Since the match was already decided by the time they got to their third sets, they played a super tie-breaker (first one to 10) instead of a full third set.

Zach Adkins, ranked 10th in the state, earned Maple Grove’s only point with a victory at No. 1 singles.

Mounds View has been the top-ranked team in the state since winning the Edina Invitational in early May, yet entered the section final as the underdog. The Mustangs avoided playing Maple Grove in that tournament, so the question whether they could handle the Crimson still lingered.

The pressure of being at the top of the rankings can have a negative effect, but Morris felt it was the opposite for the Mustangs.

“I think it actually boosted our confidence and if anything, it put extra pressure on Maple Grove because I don’t know if they knew the caliber we were able to play at until they saw that,” said Morris. “It proved we can play with anyone in the state. It really helped us believe that we could play with anybody.”

Mounds View and the seven other section champions converge on the Baseline Tennis Center at the University of Minnesota for the team portion of the state tournament on June 3-4. The Class AA team tournament is seeded by the participating coaches and the draw will be announced at noon on Thursday.

Unlike past teams, Mounds View heads into the state tournament with little experience. Only two of the players on the roster have played in a state tournament. Austin Wiegert played one match as a freshman in 2011 and Henry Morris qualified for the state doubles tournament last year.

“It just feels amazing,” said Anderson, another senior co-captain. “Losing for the past two years, it’s just a relief off our shoulders. It feels unbelievable.”

Mounds View enters the state tournament with a record of 21-2. One of the losses was to Maple Grove and the other was a 4-3 loss to Wayzata on April 30. The Mustangs returned the favor against the Trojans with a 5-2 win in the finals of the Edina tournament.

Section singles, doubles

The Section 5AA singles and doubles tournaments were held earlier this week, past the deadline for this edition of the Bulletin.

Morris and Jones were the No. 1 seed in the doubles draw and were joined in the tournament by Wiegert and Anderson, who were seeded third.

In the singles draw, Krebsbach was the third seed and Trondson was seeded fourth.

Irondale’s doubles entrants were Peter and Timothy Lyngdal, who were seeded fourth, and Alberto Hernandez and Tyler Schweizer, who were unseeded. The Knights’ singles participants, Ryan Norlinger and Vasu Agrawal, were both unseeded.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.


Section 5AA boys tennis playoffs

First round
Match 1: Osseo 6, Rogers 1
Match 2: Blaine 7, Spring Lake Park 0
Match 3: Irondale 6, Totino-Grace 1
Match 4: Champlin Park 5, Mounds View 2
Match 5: Coon Rapids 6, Park Center 1

Quarterfinals
Match 6: Maple Grove 7, Osseo 0
Match 7: Blaine 4, Irondale 3
Match 8: Mounds View 7, Champlin Park 0
Match 9: Centennial 7, Coon Rapids 0

Semifinals
Match 10: Maple Grove 6, Blaine 1
Match 11: Mounds View 7, Centennial 0

Championship round
Match 12: Mounds View 6, Maple Grove 1

 

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