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Roncalli edges Milbank Area in tennis home opener

Aberdeen Roncalli’s River Haskell returns a volley at the net during a singles match against Milbank Area Tuesday at the Northern State University tennis courts. Photo by John Davis taken 8/29/2023

In a dual that featured many tight matches, it was only fitting that the final outcome was decided by just one match.

Aberdeen Roncalli edged Milbank Area 5-4 in the Cavaliers’ tennis home opener on Tuesday at the NSU Courts.

“We could have won 7-2, they could have won 7-2,” said Roncalli coach Jason Haskell. “It just happened to be that we won 5-4. It was equally-matched tennis.”

Roncalli split a pair of super tiebreakers on the day, won another close match and dropped one as well.

“It’s kind of fun to watch some of the kids that were able to dig a little deeper and win some of those close matches,” Haskell said, “and a couple that we could have or should have let slip away.”

River Haskell was involved in both of the super breakers during the dual. The junior won her second flight singles match before falling in a top flight doubles match.

Haskell dropped the opening set, before roaring back to win the second set at love. She then edged her foe 10-8 in the super breaker to grab the win.

“I think honestly my opponent made more mistakes, so it was easier for me,” Haskell said.

She said a key to the match was staying in the moment on each point.

“It was just choosing to focus I guess on every shot,” Haskell said.

Haskell was able to use a drop shot to her advantage on the way to the singles victory.

“I really like hitting drop shots, but a lot of them go into net,” Haskell said. “Against this opponent, a drop shot was a good shot to hit.”

Haskell said she gets nervous in tight matches, but tries to combat that by focusing on each ball.

“I definitely get really nervous,” Haskell said, “but I just tell myself to focus on the next shot, instead of the whole match.”

Haskell and her partner Katherine Kretchman had an up and down doubles match, trailing 3-1 before reeling off eight straight games, only to lose the second set and come up short against the Milbank squad of Hope Karels and Ashlynn Lamp 10-5 in the super breaker.

Milbank Area’s Hope Karels returns a volley during Tuesay’s match against Aberdeen Roncalli at the Northern State University Tennis Courts. Photo by John Davis taken 8/29/2023

Bulldogs coach Abbey Trapp was pleased with the way her team performed on the day.

“It’s always a rivalry playing Roncalli and it’s always great matches. We went into tiebreakers,” Trapp said. “This was the best tennis, at least that I’ve seen on my end, of the team so it was really exciting.”

Roncalli also received singles wins from Raley Haskell at flight three, Keira Rivett at flight five and Josie Mitzel at flight six, and a doubles win from Anna Mitzel and Josie Mitzel at flight three.

“We play a lot of triangulars and quads,” Coach Haskell said, “so to get a dual where we play like you would in a championship bracket at a state tournament where it’s a 2 out of 3 (is good).”

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Keira Rivett reaches to return a volley during a singles match against Milbank Area Tuesday at the Northern State University tennis courts. Photo by John Davis taken 8/29/2023

Milbank received singles wins from Karels at flight one, and Amelia Pederson at flight four, and another doubles win from Jenna Korstjens and Pederson at flight two.

“We fought hard. We moved our feet. We attacked when we needed to,” Trapp said, “but there are definitely things that we still need to improve upon, but overall it was a great day.”

The two Class A schools filled the courts with not only varsity players, but junior varsity members as well.

“We got a bunch of young kids out here playing,” Coach Haskell said, “which was fun for me to see.”

The Cavaliers are off until Tuesday when they travel to Pierre.


Hope Karels, M, def. Katherine Kretchman, 6-4, 6-4.

River Haskell, AR, def. Ashlynn Lamp 4-6, 6-1, (10-8).

Raley Haskell, AR, def. Jenna Korstjens, 6-3, 6-4.

Amelia Pederson, M, def. Anna Mitzel, 6-3, 6-2.

Keira Rivett, AR, def. Caitlyn Frerichs, 6-3, 6-1.

Josie Mitzel, AR, def. Jericho Jones, 6-1, 6-2.


Karels-Lamp, M def. Kretchman-River Haskell, 6-3, 5-7, (10-5).

Korstjens-Pederson, M, def. Raley Haskell-Rivett, 6-1, 6-4.

Anna Mitzel-J. Mitzel, AR, def. Payton Lamp-Charlotte Swanson, 6-2, 6-2.

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