The Cherokee Braves clinched their first-ever Lakes Conference Boys Tennis Championship with a decisive 7-2 victory over dangerous Storm Lake here Thursday night.
The Braves beat the Tornadoes for the second time this season to ring up an impressive 8-1 league mark heading into tonight's Lakes Conference and regular season finale at Spirit Lake Park-Okoboji, where they will be heavy favorites to defeat the Indians after handling them 8-1 here April 24.
Cherokee won five of six singles matches and two of three doubles matches in the win over Storm Lake.
In varsity singles for the Braves, Cole Egger beat Taylor Anderson 6-1, 6-4 at #1; Cole Renken lost 3-6, 6-2 (8-10 tiebreaker) at #2; Gregor Pritzlaff beat Vista Souvandy 6-0, 6-0 at #3; Nick Parker beat Jesse Kavan 6-4, 6-3 at #4; Alex Struck beat Tommy Nastrichampang 6-4, 6-0 at #5; and Jordan Ogren beat Sheldon Lovan 7-6 (7-5 tiebreaker), 6-3 at #6.
In varsity doubles, Egger and Pritzlaff defeated the Andersons 6-3, 6-2 at #1; Renken and Parker beat Souvandy and Kavan 6-4, 6-0 at #2; and Struck and Ogren lost 4-6, 6-7 (4-7 tiebreaker) at #3.
The meet lasted nearly four hours as the Storm Lake coaches took repeated and lengthy time-outs to talk to their players during the matches. In the #1 singles match, Storm Lake's Anderson even took time out to re-grip his racket after falling behind Egger 4-1 in the opening set.
"It was a nice win in absolutely perfect weather to secure our first-ever Lakes Conference Championship," said Cherokee coach Dave Zelle, whose team has battled high winds at matches much of the season.
"One couldn't ask for much more! Our only two losses were very tight matches, so I am very pleased with the performance. We've been a solid team from top to bottom all season, and tonight's performance bore that out again.
"Egger, Pritzlaff, and Parker remain undefeated on the season heading into tonight's final meet. That is pretty exceptional.
"After tonight, time is short to get focused on the District Tournament on Thursday."
Storm Lake eked out a 5-4 win in the JV match. In JV singles, Daniel Enderlin lost 8-2 at #1, Matthew Enderlin won 8-4 at #2, Zac Woods lost 8-5 at #3, Jacob Lewis won 8-6 at #4, Dillon Drefke won 8-4 at #5, and Weston Burkhardt won 8-3 at #6.
In JV doubles, the Enderlins lost 8-1 at #1, Woods and Lewis lost 8-4 at #2, and Drefke and Burkhardt lost 8-4 at #3.