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LINCOLN – The Beatrice boys tennis team traveled to Lincoln on Thursday for the NSAA Class B State Tennis Championships.

The Orangemen had two singles players and two doubles teams for a total of six competitors.

Dillon Damme picked up the lone win for the Orangemen in No. 1 singles. He defeated Chance Crowe of Alliance in the first round 6-3, 7-5.

"His opponent's whole strategy was to push the ball back over the net and wait for you to make the mistake," said Beatrice Coach Karen Dittbrenner. "There were many points that were over 12 to 15 hits. Dillon does not enjoy this style of game and really had to stay focused to get the win. I was pleased that he was able to stay with it and get a win."

In his second round match, Damme fell to second seeded Samuel Coy of Lincoln Pius X 6-0, 6-0.

"The kid from Pius has played a bunch of tennis," Dittbrenner said. "He has a solid game and Dillon found it tough going."

In No. 2 singles, Sam Steffen battled Daniel Bernhardson, an opponent he’s had several times this season. Steffen fell in the match 7-5, 6-3.

"Sam was up early in the match but got frustrated in the middle of the first set and had trouble recovering," Dittbrenner said. "Bernhardsen is a tenacious kid who never quits. He runs down balls that you think are clear winners and is able to really make you question your strategy."

Beatrice also had two doubles teams at the tournament. In No. 1 doubles, the senior team of Evan Sueper and Joe Wright fell to eighth-seeded Mason Ramig and Thomas Madden of Scottsbluff 6-3, 6-2.

Dittbrenner said they knew very little about their opponents from Scottsbluff and said Sueper and Wright played them closer than the score indicates.

"They made some athletic plays and worked really well as a team," Dittbrenner said. "The thing about this team is their approach to the game. Both boys are outstanding kids. They don't get too worked up and just keep grinding. I really wish these two had played all four years because in each match I saw them improving in some area. We just ran out of time."

The No. 2 doubles team of freshman Colt Dittbrenner and sophomore Dawson Saathoff fell to 10th seeded Thomas Hoatson and Nate Merz 6-0, 6-1. Dittbrenner said this match was also closer than the score indicated.

"Many of the games went to Deuce multiple times but they just couldn't quite finish which has a lot to do with their age and experience level," Dittbrenner said. "I am actually very excited to see what these two do in the off-season. If they put in the time, I think we will have some fun watching them next year."

That wraps up the season for the Beatrice tennis team and the careers of four seniors, Sam Steffen, Dillon Damme, Evan Sueper and Joe Wright.

Dittbrenner, who is in her first year as the head coach, said the season went as expected.

"Despite our ages, we were a pretty young team," Dittbrenner said. "The same is going to be true for next year. If our kids get out and put time in on the courts, we will compete. Tennis is definitely a sport that you have to put time in to be successful. You are basically on your own island and what you do in the offseason determines what happens when you leave the shore."

Dittbrenner said she's proud of the leadership shown by her seniors this season.

"their leadership was outstanding this year," Dittbrenner said. "This is a great group of kids. They worked hard and were fun to work with."


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