Forest Lake tennis girls open season swinging

The Forest Lake tennis girls are off to a solid start after taking first place for the second year in a row at the Centennial Quad on Monday.

The Rangers nearly swept both singles and doubles with first-place finishes by No. 2 doubles seniors Natalie Wright and Taylor Emly, seniors Risa Anderson and Lindsey Tilton at No. 3 doubles and seniors Rachel Baniecke and Katie Lagen at No. 4 doubles. The No. 1 doubles duo of senior Bailey Norby and sophomore Megan Anderson took second, falling only to the host team.

It was the same story for the singles squad. The Rangers took first in the No. 2-4 spots, represented by junior Chase Shortly, senior Taylor Angelo and junior Noel Vierra, respectively. Senior Taylor Shortly took second place at the top position, falling to Centennial in the first matchup.

Head coach Violet Shortly said the progress of this group of Rangers is evident, given that the same group of girls never won the tournament as junior varsity players.

“We just kind of rolled over everybody on Monday, and I think the fact that we’re beating players that beat us as junior varsity players shows that we just keep getting better,” Shortly said. “It’s exciting.”

The Rangers also took third place out of eight teams at the Stillwater Invite on Friday, falling by just a few points to Mahtomedi and the host team.

Tilton and Anderson took top honors at No. 3 doubles by going 3-0 on the day, including a close 7-6, 3-6 (10-4) victory over Mahtomedi in the second round of play. The No. 2 duo of Wright and Emly took second place, losing a tight match to Mahtomedi 6-2, 4-6 (7-10) in the championship.

Norby and Anderson represented the No. 1 doubles squad and took third place with wins over St. Paul Central and Rochester Lourdes, falling only to Mahtomedi, 4-6, 6-2 (3-10), in the second round.

On the singles side, the No. 2 Ranger Chase Shortly took third place overall, winning decisively over Rochester Century in the first round, losing 4-6, 4-6 to Stillwater in the second round and defeating Mahtomedi in the third-place matchup.

Vierra took the consolation champion title after falling 2-6, 6-7 to Mahtomedi in the first round at No. 4 singles. Vierra came back to defeat Rochester Lourdes and Hill Murray in straight sets.

Wrapping up play for the day were the No. 1 and 3 singles players Taylor Shortly and Angelo, respectively. Taylor Shortly fell to a tough foreign exchange student from Apple Valley in the first round, but came back to defeat Mahtomedi 6-1, 6-3 in round two before falling to Rochester Lourdes in consolation. Angelo also took sixth place after a long day of tennis that included two tiebreakers. After falling to Stillwater in the first round, Angelo defeated Rochester Lourdes 3-6, 6-3 (10-2), but lost in consolation 6-4, 0-6 (2-10).

Overall, coach Shortly said the Rangers performed well and caught the eyes of opposing coaches along the way.

“We’re playing really well, and other coaches are commenting on how good we are going to be this year,” she said. “I just keep telling the girls one match at a time — we’ll let the results speak for themselves.”

Forest Lake hosts a triangular with Chisago Lakes and Andover at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23.