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Midgets’ chemistry, consistency produce state tennis appearance

Dickinson High senior Dynae Zubke admits she can sometimes be an anxious tennis player, but on Saturday, she proved to be a clairvoyant one as well. With a state tournament appearance on the line in the consolation quarterfinals of the West Regio...

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Dickinson High senior Ireland Jung returns a shot against Jamestown April 30 at the DHS tennis courts. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)

Dickinson High senior Dynae Zubke admits she can sometimes be an anxious tennis player, but on Saturday, she proved to be a clairvoyant one as well.

With a state tournament appearance on the line in the consolation quarterfinals of the West Region meet in Bismarck, Zubke looked at her doubles partner, freshman Lauren Jorda, and said, “This is not the last time I’m going to play with you.”

Jorda quickly replied, “No, it’s not.”

The duo then knocked off Bismarck High’s Taylor Richter and Sydney Helgeson 6-1, 7-5 and went on to place eighth in the West Region, advancing to state in the process.

The state meet begins Thursday in Grand Forks and continues through Saturday.

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“I think (Jorda) is more calm than me. We joke that I carry the nerves for the two of us,” Zubke said. “We had beaten (Richter and Helgeson) at the Fargo tournament, so we knew it was possible to beat them again. … We just went out and played our best.”

Jorda and Zubke performed as Dickinson’s strongest doubles pairing during the regular season, going 7-4. In their second year of playing together, the familiarity was evident.

“Knowing how we play, that gave us extra momentum coming into each match,” Jorda said. “We’re able to pick each other up, knowing the other is there for us. We work well together and that makes everything easier.”

Dickinson head coach Lia Bradley said Zubke and Jorda were a reliable doubles pair to have at every match.

“Lauren being a freshman has been able to withstand the pressure. She’s a super intelligent girl, and she communicates really well with Dynae,” Bradley said. “They have their signs and calls with each other. They’re always talking to each other, and they have a great relationship.”

During their two years playing together, Jorda and Zubke have developed a strategy that allows them to play to their respective strengths; Zubke will play up at the net while Jorda roams the baseline.

“Lauren’s a lot more consistent in the back,” Zubke said, “and she can place it where she wants to down the line.”

Jorda added: “When I go cross-court, (Zubke) knows how to cover the net and be really aggressive. She knows how to read the ball and the opponent really well.”

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They hope their chemistry shows again this weekend in Grand Forks.

“For me being a freshman and her being a senior,” Jorda said, “I really wanted to help her get to state. And it helps for her to have so much confidence in me.”


Jung completes career with third state trip

After placing sixth in the West Region in singles competition over the weekend, Dickinson senior Ireland Jung also earned a trip to the state meet.

Jung, who made an appearance on the Midgets’ varsity as an eighth-grader and went full-time as a freshman, will be making her third visit to state. She was a doubles partner with Kayla Wallace as a sophomore, and she placed 10th in the state as a singles player last season.

“I’d say I’m a better player than I was last year,” Jung said. “I think my shots as a whole have improved. I’m able to mix up my game a little bit and not be so repetitive.”

Jung, who went 7-5 in the regular season as Dickinson’s No. 1 singles player, pointed to her jump from eighth at the West Region meet in 2015 to sixth this year as a sign of improvement.  

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“Technique is everything in this game. It’s one thing to be consistent and hit it back, but it’s another to place a ball for winners,” Jung said. “It’s about learning what shots you should take at the right time. That’s what I know now, for the most part, the right shot to take at the right time.

“You have to think really fast when you’re on the court. You can tell, even during warmups, just what (your opponent’s) strengths and weaknesses are. I use that as an advantage for myself. I know what shots I can do to make the match a struggle for that person.”

Bradley said Jung often outworks her opponents, forcing them to make the first mistake.

“She’s smart in the fact that she doesn’t give up any points. She rarely double faults. She doesn't give away the points,” Bradley said. “She plays pretty smart. She’s moving her opponent a lot more. She doesn’t keep them in the middle, she hits from side to side. … She’s one of the most consistent girls in the state, I think.”

Jung enters her final state meet with the goal of improving on her finish from last season, and she’s carrying the appropriate mindset to do that.

“I know that at the end of the day, some girls are just going to be better than you,” she said, “but I also know on any given day, you can beat anybody, and I believe in that no matter who my opponent is.”

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