Elks clip Rangers in team section finals

Juniors Natalie Wright and Taylor Emly battled in the No. 3 doubles spot against Elk River on Monday during the Section 7AA finals. The duo won 6-2, 6-3 as head coach Violet Shortly and assistant coach Phil Raaen look on. (Photo by Kat Ladwig)

Shortly sisters advance to state doubles tournament

 

Kat Ladwig
Sports Editor

After defeating Princeton in the first round of section preliminaries last Monday, the Ranger tennis went on to beat Chisago Lakes 6-1 two days later.

Head coach Violet Shortly said that the Chisago team is always a scary opponent with good athletes and an exceptional coach.

Junior Taylor Shortly led the way at No. 1 singles with a 6-4, 7-5 win, followed by sophomore Chase Shortly at No. 2, winning 6-0, 6-0. Junior Taylor Angelo won 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3 singles, while ninth-grader Megan Anderson lost at No. 4, 4-6, 1-6.

In doubles, junior Bailey Norby and senior Emily Riermann paved the way with a 7-5, 6-2 win at No. 1. At the No. 2 spot, junior Risa Anderson and Lindsey Tilton won 6-2, 6-4, followed by the duo of juniors Natalie Wright and Taylor Emly at No. 3 winning 6-0, 6-4.

The Rangers took on Duluth East next in what Shortly called an  “emotional match for everyone” in the Section 7AA semifinals, and won 4-3.

“We knew Duluth was going to be tough, but did not realize how tough,” Shortly said. “This could have been the end of our season had it not been for the fight my No. 1 team put on. I was so impressed with their resolve not to lose.”

That No. 1 doubles team was Norby and Riermann, who battled to a 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4) victory to advance the Rangers to the next round. At No. 2, Risa Anderson and Tilton lost 0-6, 6-7 (6-8), 4-6 while Wright and Emly pulled out another victory at No. 3 doubles, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Junior Bailey Norby returns a shot in the No. 1 doubles match against the Elks. Norby’s partner was junior Taylor Shortly in the 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 win. This marks the second year in a row that the Rangers have fallen 4-3 to the Elks in the section finals. (Photo by Kat Ladwig)

“I cannot say enough about my third doubles team, they just get the job done,” Shortly said. “I really never have to worry about them, even when they get down a set they are so determined, and really by far the best athletes out there. They are a team that just does not like to lose.”

In singles, the Shortly sisters both took on tough opponents, but pulled out the win with Taylor Shortly at No. 1 winning 6-2, 7-5, and Chase winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2. Angelo lost at the No. 3 spot, 2-6, 0-6, while sophomore Noel Vierra also fell at No. 4, 4-6, 5-7.

Forest Lake faced Elk River in the section finals on Monday, after falling 5-2 to the Elks just three weeks ago. The Rangers battled it out before falling 4-3 to end their season.

Shortly decided to use her strong lineup in doubles to ensure three points, then put her faith in her singles’ players in the two, three and four spots.

“I knew this was going to be tough and very nerve-racking for all of them,” Shortly said. “I’m so very pleased with all three of them. The score is not reflective of just how well they played to the end.”

Shortly said she and her squad knew going into the match that Elk River would have a point on them in the No. 1 singles spot, since their opponent was too strong for any of the Ranger girls.

In singles, Riermann lost 0-6, 0-6 at the No. 1 spot. Angelo gave Forest Lake hope at the No. 2 singles spot after coming back from 0-6 in the first set to win 6-2 in the second, but fell in the third, 1-6. At No. 3, Megan Anderson lost 2-6, 1-6, followed by Risa Anderson with a 1-6, 0-6 loss at No. 4.

The doubles squad racked up the three Forest Lake points, as Shortly predicted, with Norby and Taylor Shortly winning 5-7, 6-1, 6-3. Chase Shortly and Tilton followed at No. 2 with a 6-2, 6-2 win, and finally the dominant duo of Wright and Emly came in strong again at No. 3, 6-2, 6-3.

The Rangers ended their season with a record of 16-4, with all losses to teams entering the state tournament in the team competition: including Mounds View, Stillwater and two to Elk River.

“I can only be very proud of all the girls and blessed that I am their coach,” Shortly said.

In individual results for sections, Taylor and Chase Shortly came into the doubles competition as the No. 2 seed and came out the true No. 1 team.

After passing St. Francis in the first round, the Shortlys took on the No. 15 seed from North Branch, winning 6-1, 6-1.

Then, the Ranger girls beat Elk River’s No. 7 seed 6-2, 6-3 before facing the No. 3 seed from north, Duluth East, and winning 7-5, 6-3.

“The dynamics of this match were very big,” Shortly said. “The Duluth girls played both of my girls very tough in the singles and both were looking for revenge in the individuals.”

The Shortlys next faced the tough No. 1 seed from Grand Rapids in the north section, but again prevailed in a two-and-a-half hour match on Monday morning, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Immediately following the lengthy match, the Rangers took on the No. 1 seed from the south, Andover. With their teammates cheering them on, the sisters fought for the 7-5, 6-3 win to earn the section’s seed going into the state tournament.

“The whole team was there cheering them on. It was very exciting and we’re all a little out of our voices,” Shortly said. “It can be tough when you’re both a mom and coach, they can give you a scare sometimes. I’m just proud, they both made huge adjustments to win that match, and everyone was just going crazy.”

The Shortly sisters will represent Forest Lake next Thursday in the state tournament at the University of Minnesota Baseline Tennis Center.

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