Vikes regional champions

By Becky Walz,

Tuesday the Decorah girls tennis team advanced to the Class 1A Elite Eight, qualifying for more state tournament action. Pictured are (l-r) Jaidyn Duvel, Evon Leitz, Annalise Skrade, Haley Gossman, Klaara Short, Kaitlyn Bjork, Olivia Huinker, Camryn Holland and Head Coach Amanda Huinker. (Submitted photo)

The Vikes are on to the state team tournament in the elite eight. The Decorah girls tennis team was determined to defend their undefeated season record, and they accomplished their goal Tuesday in round three of the team tournament.
The Vikes were fortunate to play on their home courts at Luther College against St. Edmond, who had defeated Waverly Shell-Rock in round two in a tight 5-3 match. The Vikings won 5-1 against St. Edmond and claimed their tickets to the state tournament as the regional champions.
Four points were quickly earned for the Vikings by No. 1 singles player Annalise Skrade, who defeated Lauren Gibb 6-3 and 6-1; No. 2 singles player Evon Leitz, who defeated Ana Kolacia 6-1 and 6-3; No. 3 singles player Haley Gossman, who defeated Katie Flaherty 6-1 and 6-2; and No. 6 singles player Klaara Short, who defeated Ava Underberg 6-1 and 6-0.
This left the Vikings up 4-0 but with two very tight matches still on the courts. At No. 4 singles, after splitting sets (3-6, 6-2), Olivia Huinker fell to her opponent, Payton Bradey, in a third set match tiebreaker, 7-10, moving the match score to 4-1. At this point, No. 5 singles player Camryn Holland who had won her first set 6-3 was down in her second set 2-5, so No. 1 and No. 2 doubles teams were put on the court to begin warmups and their matches. Holland refused to back down and battled her way back into the second set before losing the set in a tiebreaker, 6-8.
While No. 1 doubles team of Annalise Skrade and Haley Gossman pulled ahead 3-0, and the No. 2 doubles team of Evon Leitz and Olivia Huinker were on serve at 2-3, Holland began an intense third set match tiebreaker which she would go on to win, 11-9, against her opponent, Ava Underberg, to seal a Viking victory and the regional championship and “Elite Eight” titles.
The No. 3 doubles team, Jaidyn Duvel and Kaitlyn Bjork, never got on court to play but were an integral part of the team, supporting their teammates and cheering them on throughout their singles matches. While unneeded, Holland’s teammates had her back in case of a loss as Decorah’s No. 1 doubles had already secured a first set 6-0 win, and No. 2 doubles was up 5-4 in their first set when the match was called.
Now the Decorah Vikings will face the Columbus Sailors Saturday, May 20, at 9 a.m., at Independence High School.

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