By STUART GROSKREUTZ – Stillwater Gazette
OAK PARK HEIGHTS – The Stillwater boys’ tennis team advanced in the Section 4AA tournament with Tuesday’s 5-2 second round victory over St. Paul Highland Park at Stillwater Area High School.
The fifth-ranked Ponies (6-9) will travel to Cretin-Derham Hall to face the No. 4 seed in Thursday’s quarterfinals. Stillwater fell to the Raiders 5-2 in a conference dual earlier this season.
Stillwater lost just two games combined while picking up victories in three of four singles matches. The lone exception was at first singles where Colton Anderson was stopped by highly regarded Malik Konop DeFreitas of the Scots 6-0, 6-2.
"They have a terrific No. 1 player, who will in all likelihood be the top seed in our section," Ponies coach Dave Kahl said. "While Colton has some good moments, he could not quite string enough points together."
Sam Stiff and Mitchell Johnson each posted 6-0, 6-0 victories at second and third singles for Stillwater while Nick Rheinberger added a comfortable 6-2, 6-0 win over Cooper Olson at fourth singles.
"We won second through fourth singles very quickly and handily as Highland clearly tried to win first singles and strengthen up their doubles," Kahl said.
Highland Park earned a point at first doubles with Ari Feldman and Elliott Strand holding off Scott Xiong and Daniel Ahrendt 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), but the Ponies answered with victories at the second and third spots.
Nick Folz and Brady Tynen secured the victory for Stillwater with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Richard Crenshaw and Taylor Fleischman at third doubles. Max Wilkinson and Stone Xiong added a 6-4, 6-7 (11-9), (10-5) win over Isaac Glynn and Aidan Coleman at No. 2 doubles.
"We were able to win at third doubles in straight sets to get the clinching fourth point," Kahl said. "First and second doubles were long, tightly contested contests."
n Also on Tuesday, Victor Ary (6-1), Brian Treacy (6-0) and Matt Treacy (6-0) each won exhibition singles matches against Calvin Angelo.
St. Paul Highland Park 2
No. 1 – Malik Konop DeFreitas (SPHP) def. Colton Anderson, 6-0, 6-2.
No. 2 – Sam Stiff (St) def. Santana Sanchez, 6-0, 6-0.
No. 3 – Mitchell Johnson (St) def. Jimmy Colwell, 6-0, 6-0.
No. 4 – Nick Rheinberger (St) def. Cooper Olson, 6-2, 6-0.
No. 1 – Ari Feldman-Elliott Strand (SPHP) def. Scott Xiong-Daniel Ahrendt, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
No. 2 – Max Wilkinson-Stone Xiong (St) def. Isaac Glynn-Aidan Coleman, 6-4, 6-7 (11-9), (10-5).
No. 3 – Nick Folz-Brady Tynen (St) def. Richard Crenshaw-Taylor Fleischman, 6-3, 6-3.
St. Paul Highland Park 6, St. Paul Johnson 1
St. Paul Central 6, St. Paul Como Park 1
Stillwater 5, St. Paul Highland Park 2
North St. Paul 4, Tartan 3
Hill-Murray 6, White Bear Lake 1
#8 St. Paul Central at #1 Mahtomedi
#5 Stillwater at #4 Cretin-Derham Hall
#6 North St. Paul at #3 Roseville
#7 Hill-Murray at #2 St. Paul Harding
The semifinals are scheduled for Monday and the finals are slated for Wednesday, May 23.