BLUE EARTH — After the heat pushed their match from Monday afternoon to Tuesday morning, the defending Section 3A team champion Blue Earth Area Bucs didn’t seem to want to spend much time on the tennis court.
Blue Earth Area swept the New Ulm Eagles 7-0 in straight sets across the lineup during a Big South Conference East Division matchup to open its shortened 2020 season at Hal Schroeder Courts in Blue Earth.
The second doubles combination of Britt Howard and Lyndsey Borris were the first off the courts for Blue Earth Area, downing New Ulm’s Calyn Glaser and Alex Vigil, 6-0, 6-0, in a match the lasted less than 40 minutes.
Returning Bucs first-singles standout Te’a Armstrong finished her sweep by producing back-to-back 6-0 set victories over Abby Hietala soon after.
Blue Earth Area’s strong first-doubles tandem of McKenna Dutton and Kylie Rosenau got the home team within a point of securing its first win of the year, using strong serves and net play to take a 6-3, 6-1 win over Maddie O’Connor and Makenna Simpson.
Marissa Benz moved up to second singles to start the season and came out with a strong effort. Benz gave the Bucs their decisive fourth team point with a 6-0, 6-1, win over Malia Emerson.
“I thought with all the changes and everything, we came out and played pretty well,” Blue Earth Area head coach Konny Wolff said. “There were a couple things we can work on, but for the first match of the season, they played well.
“It feels really good to get this first match under our belts. Just so many different unknowns with how everything is going to work, it’s great to get this first one in.”
Addison Armstrong kept the Bucs’ winning ways going with a, 6-0, 6-0, win over Lydia King at third singles.
“I think they (Addison Armstrong and Benz) did well in their new positions,” Wolff said. “We have playoffs the first week of our practice and I just strictly played them in the positions they ended in for the first match. After that, doubles is more where we might have to make adjustments.”
Blue Earth Area’s Arika Howard started slowly by falling behind 2-1 in the first three games, but finished her first set strong and used the momentum gained to ease through her second set for a 6-3, 6-0 win over Emily Guggisberg in the final singles spot.
Howard put an exclamation point on the match with a forehand winner down the line to close out the final game.
“I just told her (Arika Howard), she’s used to hard hitting and I just told her to get back to the basics until she started getting her points,” Wolff said. “Fourth singles can be hard to adjust to when you like to hit the ball hard and Arika did a nice job adjusting.”
The Bucs’ third doubles combination of Cali Beyer and Olivia Dutton volleyed its way to a, 6-0, 6-0, victory over Claire Brown and Marissa Todesco, sending winner after winner between the Eagles’ players.
Blue Earth Area (1-0) travels to Waseca at 4:30 p.m. Thursday for its next Big South Conference East Division matchup.
Blue Earth Area 7,
New Ulm 0
Singles: Te’a Armstrong (BEA) def. Abby Hietala, 6-0, 6-0. Marissa Benz (BEA) def. Malia Emerson, 6-0, 6-1. Addison Armstrong (BEA) def. Lydia King, 6-0, 6-0. Arika Howard (BEA) def. Emily Guggisberg, 6-3, 6-0.
Doubles: McKenna Dutton-Kylie Rosenau (BEA) def. Maddie O’Connor-Makenna Simpson, 6-1, 6-3. Britt Howard-Lyndsey Borris (BEA) def. Calyn Glaser-Alex Vigil, 6-0, 6-0. Cali Beyer-Olivia Dutton (BEA) def. Claire Brown-Marissa Todesco, 6-0, 6-0.
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