Other shoe drops for tennis boys

Close matches go against FL

The Ranger boys’ tennis team started the year with two 4-3 wins, but living on the edge caught up with them last week. Sandwiched around a solid Suburban East Conference win over White Bear Lake were a pair of 4-3 losses.

On Saturday, Forest Lake (3-2) fell by that margin to St. Paul Harding in the first round of the Maple Grove Invite. The rest of the tournament was called off due to rain during the middle of the second round. The Knights won two matches on the back end of both the singles and doubles lineup, including a 6-4, 5-7, 10-8 contest against Nate and Austin Riedeman at No. 2 doubles.

Coach Greg Patchin made a bold lineup change, shifting Dusty Boyer – the state’s top-ranked player – to No. 1 doubles. Boyer teamed with Hunter Shortly for a 6-2, 6-4 win.

Toby Boyer – ranked ninth by the state coaches association – slid up to No. 1 singles and prevailed 6-1, 6-1. Zack Decker earned the team’s third win, defeating his No. 2 singles opponent 6-2, 6-1.

Eben Matti and Sam Bostrom rounded out the singles lineup and lost in straight sets, while Zak Buckley and Austin Morris lost at No. 3 doubles.

Rangers 6, Bears 1

Forest Lake moved to 2-1 in conference play with a 6-1 home win over White Bear Lake last Friday. The Bears’ lone win came at No. 3 doubles.

The Boyers, Decker and Shortly combined to lose just six games while sweeping singles. The Riedemans won two tiebreakers at No. 1 doubles, while Buckley and Morris came back from a set down and finished off their No. 2 doubles foes with a 10-8 third-set tiebreak.

“As usual, the first three singles dominated their opponents, but it was also good to see us win a couple of matches in doubles by tiebreakers,” Patchin said. “Good teams win those close sets and I think we are getting closer.”

Royals 4, Rangers 3

Forest Lake fell for the first time this spring last Tuesday in Woodbury. The Royals graduated eight seniors off last year’s solid squad, but pulled out four straight-set victories to surprise the Rangers.

“I guess it was a matter of time before a team with enough depth would get four points on us,” Patchin said.

Dusty Boyer won 6-0, 6-0, while Toby Boyer and Decker each lost just one game. Nate Riedeman returned from injury to play his first match of the season but he had to adjust to playing with a cast on and fell at No. 4 singles.

Forest Lake traveled to Mounds View this Tuesday to face the defending conference champions. The Rangers play at Park Thursday and the SEC road trip continues next Tuesday at Hastings.

Forest Lake will also take part in the Edina Invitational on Saturday. Dusty Boyer, the three-time defending state singles champ, will likely face his toughest competition of the regular season.