The Braves lost at Le Mars 7-2 in early season, and then battled to the wire in a 6-3 loss in Cherokee, with every match tight to the end. Saturday's Substate battle was more of the same, with the match going down to the last match - the #3 doubles, and the Bulldogs prevailing to eke out the win and advance to Team Substate action Saturday at Fort Dodge, where the Braves had advanced the past two seasons.
Cherokee started out in control, winning the first three varsity singles matches, and then claiming the #1 doubles match to account for their four match points.
In doubles, Renken and Parker beat Kehm and Meredith 6-1, 6-4 at #1; Struck and Ogran fell 6-2, 6-0 to Ahlers and Hasselquist at #2; and Bieber and Enderlin lost 6-4, 6-3 to Driggs and Harvey at #3.
"It was great weather and some very competitive tennis," said Cherokee coach Dave Zelle. "The meet came down to the final, hotly-contested #3 doubles match.
"Renken continued his dominance at #1 by beating the District singles runner-up for the second time this season. Struck showed great poise and mental toughness in taking a three-set victory at #2 after dropping the second set by a bone-jarring 0-6 score. Many a lesser players would have collapsed mentally in a scenario like that. Parker cruised at #3 and John Bieber fought an extremely close match at #6, fighting back from 1-4 in the second set to force a tiebreaker.
"At #1 doubles, Nick and Cole racked up another victory, though they struggled just a bit in the second set. Each time we played Le Mars this year we have improved our scores, we just could never quite finish out with a win."
Renken and Parker advance to the State Doubles competition in Waterloo May 28-29.