Senior Taylor Shortly and junior Chase Shortly competed in the Class AA state doubles tournament for the second year in a row last week at the Baseline Tennis Center on the University of Minnesota campus.
The sisters opened play by defeating Emily Cooper and Hanna Shands, of Mahtomedi, in the first round, 6-1, 6-4.
Head coach Violet Shortly said the girls fought some nerves throughout the match, but came out on top.
“They looked a little nervous to start, but Taylor did a good job of settling Chase down and they did what they needed to do,” she said. “They played very well after that. I was very impressed.”
A tough Minnetonka team was next in line for the Ranger duo. Forest Lake dropped the first three games, which Violet Shortly attributed again to nerves. Brianna Smith and Theresa Tebon challenged the Shortlys all the way to a tiebreaker set, where the sisters would fall, 6-2, 7-6 to close their 2013 run at a state doubles title.
“They were playing scared again, and I’m not sure why they felt like they should be scared,” Shortly said. “They did a much better job in the second set. Again, Taylor went up to Chase and said ‘I need you’ and Chase came through. It’s just too bad they came up just short in the tiebreaker.”
This was nearly a repeat of last season’s performance, when the Shortly duo ran into trouble in the quarterfinal matchup by falling short of a win to the future state champs, the Aney sisters, of Rochester Century. But this year the Minnetonka doubles team would fall in the semifinals to eventual state champs Kylie Boyer and Kate Rosenow, of Rochester Mayo.
Throughout the day Thursday, the Forest Lake girls had a crowd of about 70 supporters to cheer them on.
“It was just great,” Shortly said. “There were fans, parents and kids representing tons of other sports like volleyball, softball and soccer that came to show their support. It was really exciting and impressive that they took a day off of work to come watch. We felt pretty blessed — I know it meant a lot to the girls and even more to me.”
The Shortly sisters are the first sisters from Forest Lake to make it to the state tournament two years. Both began playing varsity in eighth grade.
Taylor Shortly also passed the all-time win record this season set by Paige Patchin (109 wins) with 110 wins after starting the season with 85. Her total record is 110-36. Chase Shortly is on track to be among the leaders as she currently sits at 94 wins.