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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co., Published May 19 2012

South's Moe snaps 20-year Grand Forks streak at East Region girls tennis tournament

GRAND FORKS – Karen Moe had a mindset going into the North Dakota East Region singles championship.

“I didn’t think I was going to win,” she said.

So, the Fargo South junior was calm, played relaxed and pulled off a stunning upset, knocking off two-time defending region champion Mimi Yunker of Grand Forks Red River 6-3, 6-3 on Saturday afternoon in Grand Forks.

Moe became the first non-Grand Forks player to win the region singles crown since 1991 and the first non-Red River player to win it since 2000.

“I knew I could win, but I didn’t think I was going to,” Moe said. “There wasn’t any pressure on it. She’s very, very good and I’ve never beaten her before. I just wanted to go out there and have fun.

“I think that’s the best I’ve ever played. The adrenaline was rushing.”

Moe, who had to win a tight, three-set match earlier in the day just to make the finals, controlled the match throughout. Buoyed by a strong serving performance and consistent groundstrokes, Moe won the first set 6-3.

“After that first set, I was like, ‘Wow, this is really crazy.’ But here we go, this is my chance. I better take it now,’” Moe said.

She did that, winning a key deuce point (no-add scoring) to go up 5-2 in the second set. Moe had a couple of match points in the next game, but Yunker fought them off. Moe was able to finish it a game later with a backhand passing shot down the line.

“Our mantra when we played Red River is, ‘If they’re good enough to beat you with winners, they’re good enough to beat you,’” South coach Jason Thiner said. “But you can’t give them anything. That’s exactly the way Karen played today. She didn’t play outside of herself. She didn’t feel like she had to play out of her head to beat (Yunker). And that was enough.”

The last non-Grand Forks player to win the East Region title was Fargo North’s Rachel Vandersteen in 1991. Red River accounted for 19 of the next 20 region singles champions, with Grand Forks Central’s Marissa Hangsleben winning in 2000.

That run ended Saturday.

“Mimi hit some great shots,” Red River coach Greg LaDouceur said. “Karen tracked them down and made Mimi hit it again. Mimi was a bit off, but that was due to the way Karen hit the ball. Karen deserves all the credit in the world. She’s a great player.”

Lalangi Marasinghe has yet another doubles title.

The Red River junior won her fourth region doubles title, teaming with Cindy Lim this time. The duo beat teammates Sammy Anderson and Maddie Anderson 6-1, 6-0 in the finals.

“They hit the ball so accurately and they complement each other so well,” LaDouceur said. “Lalangi is very good around the net. Cindy has a huge serve. Their overall game together is very tough to beat.”

Singles

Championship

Karen Moe, South, over Mimi Yunker, RR, 6-3, 6-3

Third place

Sammie Smith, WF, over Kaylee Stock, WF, 6-2, 6-1

Fifth place

Sarina Olson, WF, over Janelle Wanzek, FD, 6-4, 6-1

Seventh place

Alexis Caoili, RR, over Kayla Bjorlie, FN, 7-6, 6-4

Semifinals

Moe, South, over Smith, WF, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4; Yunker, RR, over Stock, WF, 6-2, 6-1

Consolation state-qualifying

Bjorlie, FN, over Sara Gilbertson, VC, 6-2, 6-1; Olson, WF, over Olivia Keelin, Shan, 6-4, 6-4; Caoili, RR, over Paige Relling, RR, 6-2, 6-0; Wanzek, FD, over Maddie Comeau, GFC, 6-2, 6-0

Consolation semifinals

Olson, WF, over Bjorlie, FN, 6-1, 6-1; Wanzek, FD, over Caoili, RR, 6-2, 7-5

Doubles

Championship

Lalangi Marasinghe-Cindy Lim, RR, over Sammy Anderson-Maddie Anderson, RR, 6-1, 6-0

Third place

Anna Lawley-Anna Diederich, South, over Morgan Thompson-Mary Wessman, FN, 6-3, 0-6, 6-3

Fifth place

Katie Baasch-Mariah Stein, WF, over Heidi Wanzek-Elli Hoge, FD, 6-4, 6-0

Seventh place

Taylor Corbett-Shelby Regimbal, GFC, over Halle Nystrom-Lydia Jacobson, FN

Semifinals

Marasinghe-Lim, RR, over Thompson-Wessman, FN, 6-1, 6-1; Anderson-Anderson, RR, over Lawley-Diederich, South, 6-1, 6-0

Consolation state-qualifying

Hoge-Wanzek, FD, over Kierstin Lorenz-Clarissa Olson, VC, 7-6, 2-6, 6-1; Regimbal-Corbett, GFC, over Jadeyn Koppang-Sam Longtin; Nystrom-Jacobson, FN, over Sarah Fletcher-Kennedy Stromme, Shan, 6-1, 6-2; Baasch-Stein, WF, over Laura McGuigan-Emily McGregor, FD, 6-4, 7-5

Consolation semifinals

Hoge-Wanzek, FD, over Regimbal-Corbett, GFC, 7-6, 6-3; Baasch-Stein, WF, over Nystrom-Jacobson, FN, 6-1, 6-4


Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald