Olson: Lakes Conference Champion
SPENCER – After qualifying for state in doubles a year ago, Estherville Lincoln Central’s Erin Olson showed she may able to return to state competition in singles play this season.
The senior won the Lakes Conference No. 1 singles division at the conference meet on Wednesday. She beat all five of her opponents including Spirit Lake-Okoboji’s KJ Veldman, who finished fifth at state a year ago.
“Erin had an awesome day and played just fabulous tennis,” said ELC coach Larry Kirchner. “She’s a great wind player and she made it work to her benefit.”
With the winds blowing between 25 and 30 miles per hour all day and gusts up to 37, it wasn’t an easy day to play for anyone.
Olson opened the day with an 8-1 win over LeMars’ Carolyn Ahlers. She then beat Spencer’s Sara Van Berkum 7-2.
After beating Veldman, Olson nearly had a letdown against Cherokee’s No. 1 player, but she pulled out the 5-4 win. In the final match over Storm Lake’s Samantha Kavan, Olson dominated 9-0.
Coach Kirchner’s surprise of the day was his No. 2 doubles team.
With Corin Swalve out with a foot injury and Amanda Heinrichs unavailable for play Wednesday, Carol Daniels and Kaylee Schoon were pulled up from the junior varsity.
The duo saw their first varsity action Monday against Storm Lake and lost 10-2, so Kirchner’s expectations weren’t high.
However, Daniels and Schoon posted a 4-1 record to finish second in their bracket.
Their only loss was to SL-O’s Jamie Kohlhaase and Rachel Westergard.
“They played some really good tennis,” said Kirchner. “It was a good experience for Kaylee, who will probably play varsity the rest of the year. It also gives Carol some confidence for next year.”
At the No. 2 singles, Allison Hevern struggled through the day as she posted an 0-5 record.
ELC only came up with one other match win as Tessa Bernholtz and Bailey Hagen played the No. 1 doubles and posted a 1-4 record.
That win proved important as ELC edged Spencer for third place. ELC had 11 match wins on the day while Spencer finished with 10. Spirit Lake-Okoboji won the tournament with 18 match wins while LeMars came in second with 14. Cherokee had five match wins to place fifth and Storm Lake placed sixth with three match wins.
Kirchner said the team is happy with a third-place finish.
“After finishing second a year ago and losing five out of six from that team and come back to finish third is a great accomplishment,” said Kirchner.
ELC is on the road today at Cherokee.