Mayo vs Century Girls Tennis

Mayo's Claire Loftus returns a shot during a No. 1 singles match against Century on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, at Mayo. Loftus and the Spartans begin state tournament play on Tuesday at the University of Minnesota's Baseline Tennis Center. (Andrew Link / alink@postbulletin.com)

CLASS AA

The favorite: Edina is in its usual place of being the team to beat. The Hornets are seeking their third straight state title and their 34th overall.

Last year’s championship: It was Edina beating Minnetonka 7-0 in the finals. 

Mayo’s history: The Spartans are in their seventh straight state tournament but have yet to win one. Mayo lost to eventual state finals qualifier Minnetonka 4-3 in last year’s semifinals, then finished third overall. 

How the Spartans stack up: No. 4 seed Mayo is 19-2 overall. One of those losses was to No. 1 Edina, 6-1, in August. The Spartans figure to have their work cut out in the first round against fifth-seeded Elk River, whose strength is its depth, just like Mayo.

Mayo’s young stars: Mayo is a young team, including utilizing seventh-grader Claire Loftus at No. 1 singles. Loftus is a star in the making. The Spartans have just two seniors in their starting lineup, Ellen Baranczyk and Deeya Patel. No. 3 singles player Sutton Julsrud is a sophomore, No. 4 singles player Nandini Iyer an eighth-grader and No. 3 doubles player Taylor Hill a freshman.

Mayo’s rode: The Spartans got to state by slipping past No. 7 ranked Century 4-3 in the Section 1AA finals. Sutton Julsrud gave Mayo a win at No. 4 singles, and the Spartans swept the doubles — Patel and Grace Ackerman at No. 1, Baranczyk and Taylor Hill at No. 2, Nandini Iyer and Molly Pickering at No. 3.

SCHEDULE

TUESDAY

• At U of M’s Baseline Tennis Center

Quarterfinals

(Seedings listed)

No. 1 Edina vs. Wayzata, 8 a.m.

No. 4 Mayo vs. No. 5 Elk River, 10 a.m.

No. 2 Minnetonka vs. Becker, noon

No. 3 Mounds View vs. Woodbury, 2 p.m.

Consolation semifinals

Edina/Wayzata loser vs. Mayo/Elk River loser, 4 p.m.

Minnetonka/Becker loser vs. Mounds View/Woodbury loser, 6 p.m.

WEDNESDAY

• At U of M’s Baseline Tennis Center

Semifinals

Edina/Wayzata winner vs. Mayo/Elk River winner, 8 a.m.

Minnetonka/Becker winner vs. Mounds View/Woodbury winner, 10 a.m.

Fifth place

Consolation semifinal winners, noon

Third place

Semifinal losers, 2 p.m.

Championship

Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.

CLASS A

The favorite: That is unquestionably Blake. Ranked No. 1 in the state, the Bears are pursuing their fourth straight state title. The Bears have the best team and likely the top player in the state, senior Arlina Shen.

Last year’s championship: Blake steamrolled Litchfield 7-0. That was after also beating Lourdes by the same score in the semifinals. 

Lourdes’ history: The Eagles are in the state tournament for the 24th consecutive year. They finished third last season for the second straight year. 

How Lourdes stacks up: The 15-2 and third-ranked Eagles always have the best singles player on the court no matter who they play in Class A, unless the matchup is with Blake. Blake’s Shen is ranked No. 1 in the state, Lourdes’ Clare Palen No. 2. If things go as expected, Lourdes would meet Blake in the state finals at 4 p.m. Wednesday since they’re in opposite brackets. Blake is loaded at singles, routinely winning the top four spots. Lourdes would likely need an upset win at No. 1 singles by Palen to have at shot at Blake. Lourdes has some excellent doubles teams with eighth-grader Elyse Palen and junior Sydney Elliott often matched up at No. 1, juniors Karin Hayford and Melissa Stocker at No. 2, and juniors Annabel Boughey and Hannah Roth at No. 3.

Lourdes’ losses this season: It fell 4-3 to No. 5-ranked Class AA team Mayo and 4-3 to No. 2-ranked Class A team Breck.

More on last year: Though Lourdes lost 7-0 to Blake last year, it was less one-sided than that score suggests. Two of the three doubles matches went to three sets, and the other went Blake’s way 6-1, 7-6 (7-4 tie-breaker).

TUESDAY 

• At Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center

Quarterfinals

(Rankings listed)

New  London-Spicer vs. No. 7 Pequot Lakes, 8 a.m.

No. 3 Lourdes vs. No. 6 Blue Earth, 10 a.m.

No. 1 Blake vs. No. 10 Thief River Falls, noon

No. 5 Litchfield vs. No. 9 Minnewaska, 2 p.m.

Consolation semifinals

New London-Spicer/Pequot Lakes loser vs. Lourdes/Blue Earth loser, 4 p.m.

Blake/Thief River Falls loser vs. Litchfield/Minnewaska loser, 6 p.m.

WEDNESDAY

• At Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center

Semifinals

New London-Spicer/Pequot Lakes winner vs. Lourdes/Blue Earth winner, 8 a.

Blake/Thief River Falls winner vs. Litchfield/Minnewaska winner, 10 a.m.

Fifth place

Consolation semifinal winners, noon

Third place

Semifinal losers, 2 p.m.

Championship

Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.

— Pat Ruff

 

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