Lacasa, Hanninen vying for state doubles berth
The No. 2-seeded Detroit Lakes doubles pairing of Gabe Hanninen and Pedro Lacasa advanced to the Section 8A semifinals after a hard-fought three-set victory to advance.
The DL duo had a first round bye before taking on Perham’s Josh Peterson and Drew Birkeland.
“Gabe and Pedro started out hot,” said head coach Zach Biggar.
DL took a 4-0 early first set lead making points for Perham difficult and closing out a 6-3 set win.
The Lakers had breaks of serve in the second leading 4-1, but Peterson and Birkeland rallied for five straight games to even the match after taking the second set 6-4.
The trend continued as DL led 4-1 in the third but Perham stormed back to tie the deciding set 4-4, before Hanninen and Lacasa broke serve to seal the match 6-4.
“The whole DL squad went nuts when they pulled out that three-setter, so happy for their teammates' success,” Biggar said.
DL’s other tandem of Tanner Doppler and Trey Seebold won their opening round match over Joe Connelly and Maverc Kalenberg of Fergus Falls 6-0, 6-1, but were knocked out of the tournament in a quarterfinal loss to Crookston’s Blake Fee and Luke Wardner one and four.
“Fee was bombing serves left and right which made it difficult to get into his service game,” said Biggar. “We made a run in the second set but could not win the big points.”
Fee and Wardner take on Lacasa and Hanninen for a berth in the section finals the morning of Wednesday, May 23. The top two teams advance to state with a true second match played, if necessary.
In singles play, Nick Garmen of Crookston eliminated Conner Froke 6-0, 6-2 and Fergus Falls’ Noah Tarczon defeated Austin Baker 6-1, 6-0.
“Matchups with singles were tough which put our guys in a difficult situation,” said Biggar. “We just tried to make the other guys hit as many shots as possible. Difficult day for the singles players.”
The Laker tennis team comes down to a pair of sophomores in Hanninen and Lacasa who are looking to do what has not been done often for the program - get to state. Brothers Isaac and Alex Fondrick broke through and were the last to qualify in 2013 reaching the consolation finals.
“Unfortunately, all the seniors on the team have played their last match for DL tennis,” said Biggar. “Coach Beauchman and I do want to say thank you for their leadership and hard work. It has been a pleasure to coach them and watch them grow into young men.”