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Senior Hannah Melander returns a shot during her second singles match against Woodbury on Thursday, Sept. 16.

The Forest Lake girls tennis team won a pair of Suburban East Conference matches last week, including a tight contest against Woodbury.

And that win over the Royals included a victory over an unseen opponent: a strong wind from the south that affected play on both sides of the net.

The Rangers nearly swept Irondale in a road match on Tuesday, Sept. 14, winning 6-1. Forest Lake won all four singles matches in straight sets, with senior Ashlyn Vetsch and junior Ellie Zowin not losing a single game while winning at third and fourth singles, respectively.

Junior Malia McKinnon and senior Hannah Melander also cruised to easy victories at first and second singles.

Things were tougher in the doubles matches, though. Junior Sydney Wiener and senior Anna Luedtke won at second doubles in a tough 6-1, 3-6, 10-5 match, while junior Emily Ryan and freshman Allie Siebenaler won in straight sets at third doubles.

Forest Lake then claimed a tight 4-3 victory in a windy home match against Woodbury on Thursday, Sept. 16.

Vetsch and Zowin won in straight sets at third and fourth singles, while Wiener and Luedtke won at second doubles, and Ryan and Siebenaler took third singles to clinch the match.

That Woodbury match was notable because the two teams dealt not only with evenly matched opponents, but the strong wind that blew shots from the south end of each court deep into the north end, while pushing against shots from the north end of the courts, especially lobs and high-arching shots.

“Playing against the wind can feel like you’re playing against another opponent, but it’s that way for both sides,” Forest Lake coach Violet Shortly explained. “It can be frustrating to play in the wind. You have to realize that the ball is going to go deep on one side and not as deep when it’s traveling into the wind on the other side.

“You have to play as if every ball is going to stay in. It’s tough, mentally.”

The Rangers began this week with a home match against Mounds View on Tuesday, Sept. 21, that was not completed at press time. Forest Lake will travel to White Bear Lake on Thursday, Sept. 23, in a match starting at 4 p.m. before returning home for two matches next week.

The Rangers will host Park of Cottage Grove on Tuesday, Sept. 28, starting at 3:30 p.m., then will host Chisago Lakes the next day beginning at 1 p.m. before closing the regular season at Cretin Derham-Hall on Thursday, Sept. 30.

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