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East Ridge boys tennis: Raptors tie for first at annual Royal-Raptor invite

The East Ridge boys tennis team tied for first place with Hudson, Wis., in the eight-team Royal-Raptor Invitational on Saturday, April 27.

Leading the way for East Ridge was Ben Van der sman, who took first place at third singles, beating Woodbury's Joe Schubert in the finals, and the Raptors' doubles team of Phillip Cai and Evan Lu, which took first place with wins over Lakeville North, Woodbury and Hudson, at second doubles.

"We had lots of great battles at the Royal-Raptor tourney with some great teams," East Ridge head coach Suzie Heideman said. "I am so proud of the way my players played; they gave it their all. It was the nicest day of spring and they were happy to be outside, playing tennis, all day long."

Also, for East Ridge, Vishaal Gupta earned third place at second singles, pulling off a win over Woodbury's Ben Sajavic 6-1, 6-3 in the first round, and Nikhil Gupta took second place at fourth singles. In doubles play, the Raptors' No. 1 duo of Greg Sharrow and Riley Pratt were consolation champs, as was the No. 3 doubles pairing of Aaron Christianson and Cormac Dolezal.

Prior to the tournament, East Ridge split a pair of Suburban East Conference matches. The Raptors fell 4-3 to rival Woodbury on Thursday in a very close match, before beating Stillwater 7-0 on Friday.

Against Woodbury, it was tied 3-3 and No. 4 singles went into a third set to decide the match.

Woodbury swept the singles and East Ridge swept the doubles.

For East Ridge, the No. 1 duo of Zak Nigatu and Van der sman defeated Woodbury's David Lundberg and Michael Chu 6-4, 6-3, the No. 2 pairing of Cai and Lu won 6-3, 6-2 and the third doubles team of Dolezal and Christianson won 6-4, 7-5.

"It was a beautiful day and a great match - no losers in this match really," Heideman said. "There was some great tennis, and we know where we need to get to when sectionals come around."

East Ridge rebounded from the loss and thumped Stillwater 7-0 the next day at East Ridge High School.

"There were some really close matches, and we were able to pull them all out," Heideman said. "We won every tie-breaker that was played. I'm very proud of the way my players handled themselves under pressure."

For East Ridge, Sharrow beat Nick Rheinberger 6-3, 6-2 at first singles, Van der sman defeated Mitch Johnson 7-6 (6), 7-6 (9) at second singles, Nikhil Gupta won 6-3, 7-5 at third singles and Pratt won 6-4, 7-6 (5) at fourth singles. In doubles play, Zak Nigatu and Vishaal Gupta defeated Stillwater's Nate Anderson and Brian Treacy 6-1, 6-1 at first doubles, Cai and Lu won 6-0, 7-6 (3) at second doubles and

Dolezal and Christianson won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 at third doubles.

On the year, three East Ridge players remain undefeated: Van der sman and the doubles team of Cai and Lu.

Next, East Ridge takes on Park on Wednesday and Forest Lake on Thursday.