The Cherokee Braves, defending Lakes Conference champions, showed continued improvement despite losing two hotly-contested Lakes Conference boys tennis matches last week.
Against Storm Lake, the Braves split the six singles matches and then won one of three varsity doubles matches to taste defeat by such a narrow margin.
In varsity singles for the Braves, Cole Renken lost 10-4 to Carson Anderson at #1, Nick Parker beat Vista SouVandy 10-5 at #2, Alex Struck beat Jesse Kavan 10-8 at #3, Jordan Ogren lost 10-8 to Tommy Nasarichamphang at #4, John Bieber beat Nate Botine 10-3 at #5, and Matthew Enderlin lost 10-8 to Desmond Khounlo at #6.
In varsity doubles, Renken and Parker beat Anderson and SouVandy 11-10 (7-2 tiebreaker) at #1, Struck and Ogren lost 10-4 to Kavan and Khounlo at #2, and Bieber and Enderlin lost 10-7 to Nasarichamphang and Botine at #3.
"This was a tough one to lose, but it was an evening filled with highly competitive, entertaining matches," said Cherokee coach Dave Zelle.
At Soencer Friday night, Cherokee's top three players won their singles matches, but the Tigers swept the doubles matches to take the win.
In varsity singles, Renken beat Drew Jacobsen 10-8 at #1, Parker beat Mark Wakefield 11-10 (7-5 tiebreaker) at #2, Struck beat Joel Kaldahl 10-6 at #3, Ogren lost 10-3 to Waylon Glienke at #4, Bieber lost 8-3 to Tyler Greenough at #5, and Matthew Enderlin lost 8-2 to Michael Gabhart at #6.
In doubles, Renken and Parker lost their first match of the season 10-8 to Jacobsen and Wakefield at #1, Struck and Ogren fell 10-7 to Glienke and Drake Swanson at #2, and Bieber and Enderlin lost 10-7 to Greenough and Gabhart at #3.
Spencer won the abbreviated JV match 4-2. Burkhardt lost 8-2 at #1, Dillon Drefke lost 8-5 at #2, Daniel Enderlin lost 8-4 at #3, and Conner Ogren lost 9-8 (7-2 tiebreaker) at #4. In JV doubles, Burkhardt and Enderlin lost 9-7 at #1, and Drefke and Ogren lost 8-6 at #2.
"On paper, Spencer was expected to be the team to beat this year in the Lakes Conference, so we knew it would be a tough meet to win up there," said Zelle. "We started well, winning the top three singles matches, but the bottom half of their lineup is nearly as good as the top half.
"The disappointment came on the doubles front. We were excited to be in the thick of all three doubles matches, even leading late in two of them. Unfortunately, we were unable to pull out any doubles wins.
"Struck had a nice match, playing a bit more aggressively than the conservative marathon match he won against Storm Lake the night before."
The Braves travel to Estherville-LC Thursday night.