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Girls' tennis preview: Three story lines for the season

09/04/2017, 9:22pm CDT
By Star Tribune

Mahtomedi ended the Hornets’ 19-year run of titles in the semifinals last year, then went on to defeat Eagan in the finals. The Zephyrs have much of their lineup back from a year ago.


Olivia Paradise helped Mahtomedi end Edina's 19-year reign as girls' tennis state champions in last year's Class 2A semifinals.

Can Mahtomedi repeat?

– seven seniors in all – led by singles stalwarts Olivia Paradise, Grace Riermann and Anna Stutz. The biggest change is in the coaching situation, where former University of Minnesota tennis player Julia Courter takes over for Kathy Alex, who stepped aside after just one year.

Will Edina return?

For the first time in a generation, Edina will not be defending a title. Rather, the Hornets have the unusual (for them) motivation of trying to knock off the top team. They have the talent to do it, with a singles lineup that included senior Sophie Reddy, sophomore Nicole Copeland and senior Margeaux Boyer. The doubles teams are a work in progress, but coach Steve Paulsen has plenty of talent to mix and match with experienced vets in Shay Reger, Hayley Trebil, Sam VanErt, Jessica Ip and Anna McDonald.

Lambert steps away

Much like older sister Aria did following her back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009, Class 2A singles champ Bella Lambert of Minnetonka has elected not to defend her title. Lambert has verbally committed to compete for the University of Minnesota and will graduate high school early to get a jump on her college career. With Lambert out of the mix, Reddy moves into the favorite’s role in 2A, with Copeland, Elk River’s Meagan Brown and Eagan’s Samantha Nichols also considered serious contenders. Class 1A remains the domain of Blake. Two-time defending champ Libby Rickeman graduated, but Blake senior Lainey Axell and sophomore Arlina Shen are the most likely successors.

Worth watching

Five metro teams, players to keep an eye on:

Teams

1. Mahtomedi

2. Edina

3. Blake (A)

4, Hopkins

5. Prior Lake

Individuals

1. Sophie Reddy, Edina

2. Nicole Copeland, Edina

3. Meagan Brown, Elk River

4. Maddie Suk, Hopkins

5. Lainey Axell, Blake

JIM PAULSEN

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