Forest Lake continues to climb the ranks in the Minnesota State High School Tennis Coaches Association’s polls, moving up one to the No. 7 spot (Class AA) after knocking the former No. 9 team out of the top-10 rankings with a 5-2 win at home over Stillwater on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
The Rangers used their stellar doubles squad to record another sweep among the duos, with seniors Bailey Norby and Taylor Emly leading the way at No. 1, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.
Seniors Taylor Angelo and Natalie Wright earned a victory at No. 2 doubles, 6-4, 6-2, while seniors Risa Anderson and Lindsey Tilton sealed the sweep in a close one at No. 3, winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
Head coach Violet Shortly said although her one-and-three doubles teams made it a close match, they showed a lot of discipline in pulling out the win.
“The big key to this matchup was making sure my doubles held, and they’ve been playing amazing,” Shortly said. “In that third set, Taylor and Bailey just never looked back. Bailey just went ‘I’ve got this’ and they did it.”
Sophomore Megan Anderson got a key win at No. 3 singles, 6-2, 6-1, while junior Noel Vierra captured another big victory for her squad at No. 4 singles with a score of 6-1, 6-4.
Shortly said the win over another ranked, top-SEC team was a crucial victory for Forest Lake and showed growth in her squad.
“It was huge,” Shortly said. “We’ve talked a lot about focusing on your match instead of looking around to see how your teammates are doing. Look at your partner if you have one, or across the net at your opponent. They are really focusing on that, and it’s showing.”
The Rangers then turned around two days later to face Cretin-Derham Hall and swept the Raiders.
Senior Taylor Shortly won 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1 singles, followed by Megan Anderson at No. 2 (6-1, 6-3) and Vierra at No. 3 (6-1, 6-1). Tilton made a dominant showing on the singles side at the No. 4 spot with a 6-0, 6-0 victory.
Winning in doubles were Norby and Emly (6-1, 6-1) at the top spot while Wright and Angelo followed at No. 2 (6-4, 6-1). Seniors Rachel Baniecke and Katie Lagen earned a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 3 doubles.
Going into the Elk River Invite on Saturday the Rangers need to stay focused to maintain their reputation as a section favorite.
“I can’t imagine Elk River beating us 5-2 as we did to them; I’m just not sure that will happen, so we should hold on,” Coach Shortly said. “A lot of coaches are saying we’re the favorite, but I’m trying to tell the girls to go one match at a time. We can’t look past Elk River or even Duluth.”
The Rangers faced Hastings on the road on Tuesday, Sept. 17, and travel to Roseville for a 3:30 match on Thursday, Sept. 19, before the Elks Invite on Saturday.