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Doubles tandem moves on at state, McArdle out
Ashley Hermanson, left, and Kelsey Erickson defeated Madison Wests Sarah Kuhn and Lauren Rosenstock 1-6, 6-3 (10-5) in the opening round of the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.
MADISON - Monroe junior Kelsey Erickson and No. 1 doubles teammate Ashley Hermanson had their backs against the wall after dropping the first set at the WIAA Division 1 state tennis tournament Thursday night.

"We knew we had to pick it up in the second set to get to the tiebreaker," Erickson said, after a 6-1 loss in the first set to Madison West's Sarah Kuhn and Lauren Rosenstock in the first round of the state tournament at the University of Wisconsin's Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

"We just knew we had to step up our game," she said.

Erickson and Hermanson didn't waste any time rallying to win the second set 6-3 to set the stages for a nail-biting finish. In the tiebreaker the first team to 10 points takes the match. Kuhn and Rosenstock jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the tiebreaker after Rosenstock lobbed in a shot to win a point. Erickson and Hermanson dominated the tiebreaker from there.

The duo forced the Regents into several unforced errors. Hermanson delivered a forehand at the net to clinch a 10-5 win in the tiebreaker. Erickson and Hermanson (25-2) now advance to the second round and play Waukesha South's Karlie Laveau and Erica Van Riper (20-9) at 10:30 a.m. today.

"We were not on our game in the first set," Hermanson said. "We had to step up. We didn't get down on ourselves. We were just intense and ready for anything to come our way."

Monroe coach Stephanie Miller credited Erickson and Hermanson's short-term memory in bouncing back from adversity.

"They have always been able to forget about that," Miller said of a tough set or game. "Before the tiebreaker, I told them to stay aggressive and get up to the net. We still felt like the other team had not seen their best tennis. They came back and dominated the match."

Monroe junior Kristin McArdle lost her first-round match to Sheboygan North sophomore Erin Johnson, 7-5, 6-4. McArdle came back from a 3-0 deficit in both sets.

"It makes a big difference to win the first set and get going a little bit," McArdle said. "I knew I would have a chance to come back in that second set. I wasn't keeping the ball in play and doing what I should to win points there."

Johnson had a style that appeared challenging for McArdle.

"Her opponent had a lot of top spin on the forehand and backhand," Miller said. "Kristin struggled with that. You don't see a lot of female players with that much top spin. It's disappointing to not have many points on the board and to come back and get close to winning. It takes a strong player to do that."

McArdle expects to use the first time state appearance as a learning experience and motivation to get back next year.

When asked what she learned from her state tournament experience, McArdle said just being ready for the atmosphere.

"Next year, I will be a little more ready for it," she said. "Hopefully, I will get off to a little better start in my match."