Four Storm Lake High boys tennis players qualified for this year's individual state tournament Friday during a Class 1A district tournament at Spencer.
Meanwhile, the Tornadoes also qualified as a team for post-season play along with Spencer and LeMars.
Saturday, the Storm Lake boys lost a tough, 5-4 decision in the team competition to LeMars in Storm Lake.
Advancing to the Class 1A individual state tournament for Storm Lake were two doubles combinations, Vinny Saengchanpheng and Sanh Mounethep along with Jack Phomphakdy and Chandavone Southiphong.
Spencer won the district team competition Friday on its home court, compiling 23.5 points. Storm Lake was second with 21 points while LeMars took third with 14 points.
The Iowa Individual State Tennis Tournament will be held May 27 and 28 in Waterloo.
"Being second in team points at the end of Friday's competition gives us the first chance in ten years to play as a team in the post-season tournament," said SLHS boys tennis coach Ron Netten.
"This puts us in the top 24 teams in Class 1A shooting for that state trophy as a team," he added. "This is a real accomplishment for our team, which has been through plenty of adversity this season."
Saturday on their home court, the Tornadoes nearly avenged two losses to LeMars in the preliminary team substate match.
In that match, the Bulldogs won the first three singles matches, as Tim Claussen defeated Saengchanpheng 6-0, 6-3, Jared Ritz upended Phomphakdy 6-3, 6-1 and Terry Fett beat SL's Mounethep, 6-2, 6-2.
The Tornadoes rebounded with three singles wins, as senior Erik Borke dispatched Dustin Petty 6-4, 6-4, Southiphong beat LeMars' Ryan Becker 6-4, 7-5 and SL's Jacob Laursen edged Brian Stelzer, 6-1, 4-6, (7-3).
In doubles, it couldn't have been any closer. Claussen and Petty of LeMars tipped Saengchanpheng and Mounethep 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), but Storm Lake rallied as Phomphakdy and Southiphong beat Ritz and Fett 6-4, 6-4. In the deciding match, LeMars' Becker and Stelzer beat Borke and Laursen of Storm Lake, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
"This was as close as you can make a dual match," Netten said. "Anywhere up and down the lineup, we had chances to to reverse a loss but we came up just short.
"Four of our boys were spent, having played four full matches the day before at districts, with LeMars having only one player in that boat.
"After splitting 3-3 in singles, we actually were just points away from sweeping the doubles."
Netten added that the Tornadoes last made the post season as a team in 1995.
At Friday's district meet in Spencer, meanwhile, Saengchanpheng and Mounethep opened with a doubles win over Spirit Lake, 6-2, 6-1. The SL pair followed with a 6-0, 6-2 win over a team from St. Edmonds' of Fort Dodge, then beat a doubles pair from LeMars, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
The other SLHS doubles pair, Phomphakdy and Southiphong, opened with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over the top-seeded team from Bishop Heelan, then beat a Spirit Lake team 6-3, 6-0. In the doubles semifinals, Phomphakdy and Southiphong beat a pair from Spencer, 7-5, 6-1.
The championship doubles pitched pitted the Storm Lake pairs against each other. In that match, Saengchanpheng and Mounethep defeated Phomphakdy and Southiphong 6-4, 6-2.
According to Netten, the win by Phomphakdy and Southiphong over top-seeded Heelan set the tone for the day.
"That momentum carried over to future matches and propelled them past a stubborn Spencer team to earn a chance to compete at state, " he said.
"Vinny and Sanh started with excellent play the first two rounds and beat a tough team from LeMars. I felt it was the premier match of the day and our boys responded with answers for their opponents."