Slama — Section champ!
Emily Slama won the Section 2A tennis singles championship last Tuesday and is advancing to the State Tournament on Thursday.
The Blue Earth Area junior has been playing at the No. 1 singles spot for the Bucca-neers all season and was seeded second in the Section Tourna-ment.
She defeated the No. 1 seed, Elena Almici of Sibley East, 6-2, 6-1.
Almici, a foreign exchange student from Italy, had been unbeaten all year and sported a 25-0 record going into the match against Slama.
“It was phenomenal,” Buc Head Coach Terry Barnes says. “So much fun to watch, and gut wrenching at the same time.”
Barnes says only a few people at the Section Tournament thought Slama had much of a chance to beat Almici.
“But Emily beat her a ton, really won big,” Barnes says. “She took care of her ground game. Almici eventually backed off her game after Emily hit enough returns.”
Slama says she felt her serves were going well, and her strategy of forcing Almici to the net paid off.
Barnes says he was very pleased to see Slama seeded No. 2.
“The coaches recognized the year she’s had, with only three losses,” he says. “She deserved the second spot.”
At the No. 3 seed position was Danni Collins of Waseca.
Slama and Collins faced each other twice during the season, and split, with each girl winning on her home court.
At the Section Tournament, they met again, and the match went to three sets, with the Buc’s Slama coming out on top, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.
Collins and Almici then faced each other to determine true second, with Almici winning, and gaining a trip to State as well as Slama.
On Monday, Slama won two matches to advance to the finals on Tuesday. She first beat Kelly Megan of Le Center, 6-1, 6-1. Next she defeated Kayla Trocke of Sibley East, 6-1, 6-1.
Slama will play in the State Tourney this Thursday, Oct. 29, at 8 a.m. at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center, 4005 Nicollet Ave. So., in Minneapolis. Her opponent will be Courtney Rust of Rochester Lourdes High School.
Coach Barnes says he really wasn’t all that surprised when Slama won the Section championship.
“The big thing is, she just played outstanding,” Barnes says. “She couldn’t have played any better tennis. She was totally focused on what she had to do. Her game was mostly up, with very few downs.”
Hopefully the Section 2A champ can continue her winning ways into the State Tournament, Barnes added.
Other members of the Buccaneer tennis team who participated in the Section Tournament were Annika Johnson in singles, JessicaSkaare and Olivia Skaare, and Mackenzie Lein and Abby Nimz in doubles. All are seniors, except Nimz who is a freshman.
Senior Sam Hogstad would have been a participant, Barnes says, but was injured and could not play.
Johnson won her first match, against Jenny Frederick of Le Center, 6-4, 6-1. She played Almici next, and lost to her, 6-0, 6-1.
Lein and Nimz defeated a duo from Fairmont in their first match, 6-0, 7-6 (7-3), but then lost in their second match to the Maple River doubles team, 6-0, 6-0. The two Skaare cousins lost to a Belle Plaine pair in their first match of the tourney, 6-4, 6-3.