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Midgets tennis defeats Bismarck; tied for fourth in standings

Dickinson rides a two game win streak and are playing their best tennis going into postseason tourney starting next week.

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Valeria Bradley competing in a regional match up against Williston Coyotes on Tuesday, May 26. Dickinson won against Bismarck High School as the season draw to a close.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press
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BISMARCK — Dickinson tennis head coach Lia Bradley and her staff have been working to optimize their performance in doubles through the season. After trial and error they have managed a good collaboration with their pairings that have proven an effective recipe — highlighted in their most recent away match against Bismarck on Tuesday, May 17.

After a spell of matches on Friday and Saturday, the Midgets (4-3, 7-5) battled fatigue to defeat the Demons (3-4, 5-5) with a 5-4 result.

“I talked to them about it and said, ‘Ladies, you can have the day off tomorrow to regroup, but let's come out today and give it our best and they did,'” Bradley said. “They have managed to be able to start strong, especially with the doubles… To get two out of three doubles really makes a difference when going into the singles.”

The Midgets started with the doubles competition and in the first match garnered success via a 2-1 victory that Lia Bradley says was pivotal to winning out on the day.

Sophomore Valeria Bradley and eighth grader Shayna Klitzke, partnered up for the first time and as a team got Dickinson the start they needed to pull ahead early before finishing strong. Lia Bradleys said that the two are becoming a solid pair of aces, both consistent and aggressive at the baseline.

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It went to a third set after the Dickinson duo fell behind early on with a 6-4 loss in set one. Their opponents strategically targeted the low outside; but keeping their wits, the Midgets duo were able to backhand their way to winning the final two sets 6-2 and 7-5.

“They were just really struggling with this team, because the other girls hit a lot of slices and kept the ball so low and it really messed up their ground strokes for a little bit,” Bradley said. “These girls were making them get out of their comfort zone. They had to regroup and not allow that to affect their game and start to bend their knees and still do what they know how to do well. Mentally, they were able to get back into the game and come back and win it.”

Second team was senior and captain Lola Homiston, who paired with eighth grader Morgan Daley. The two produced a solid game, winning decisively in two sets (6-3, 6-4).

Homiston and Daley’s partnership continues to allow each other to highlight their individual skill sets — complimenting one another on the court. Bradley praised Daley for advancing quickly over the season and being able to work well with her partners.

“They really compliment each other,” Bradley said. “From the baseline, Lola and then Morgan at the net… Its hard to get past Morgan; she just stand right in the middle, making so many winners. It is such a surprise, she is such a young player and she does have a lot of experience in doubles.”

The Midgets top three in the singles lineup Bradley, Homiston and Klitzke, also came away with wins in singles. Each of them won their matches in two sets. Valeria Bradley 6-1 and 6-2 performance tallied her ninth singles W in the season. Klitzke has and additional win in her season record at 10-3 and won her match against junior Peyton Kovash with a 6-3, 6-4 result.

It has been a tightly contested season for the Dickinson girl’s tennis team with the majority of their matches ending with a one point margin. Their final match will be at home against powerhouse Minot, before heading to Minot next week for the regional tournament from May 26 through May 28. They are likely to go into the postseason in fourth or fifth standings in the Western Dakota Association.

“We are getting to that point in the season where it gets to the nitty gritty,” Bradley said. “If we don't persevere and finish strong there are other teams that are competing with us to go to state so we have to give it our all these next couple of weeks.”

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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