NB tennis boys head into postseason play

Martineau and Byrkit earn two wins

The North Branch boys tennis team followed suit last week alongside other spring sports that are scrambling to make up games with a hectic schedule.

The Vikings played four consecutive matches between last Tuesday and Friday, going 0-4 but seeing improvement, according to head coach Tom McLaughlin. The coach attributes the progress to “being outside.”

Last Tuesday, North Branch lost 5-2 while hosting Big Lake. The No. 1 doubles duo of junior Conner Martineau and senior Tyler Byrkit earned a win with score of 6-3, 6-4.

Juniors Avery Kraemer and Tennie Jacobson earned the second team point with a 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 3 doubles.

McLaughlin said tough competition earlier this season has helped the doubles teams.

“We’ve had to play against some of the best, and that improves our game quite a bit,” McLaughlin said.

The same duos played well again the next day at home against Princeton, despite a 6-1 loss.

Byrkit and Martineau recorded the lone win with scores of 6-2, 6-2 while Kraemer and Jacobson went to a third-set tiebreaker, which they lost. McLaughlin made note of senior Johnny Schuster, who has had some near wins at No. singles due to his never-quit attitude.

“He’s played well,” the head coach said. “He just doesn’t quit. He’s athletic, he gets the ball back and is smart.”

On Thursday and Friday, the Vikings faced Buffalo and Monticello. McLaughlin said his team came out flat for 7-0 losses in both.

The Vikings earned the 11th seed and played a subsection game at Cloquet on Tuesday. Section singles kicks off at Princeton on Thursday, while section doubles plays at Princeton on Saturday. North Branch also has a makeup game scheduled against Mora at home at 4 p.m. Friday, May 23.


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