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Girls tennis post-season starts this week
It’s hard to believe, or maybe accept, but the fall prep sports season has already reached the playoffs. All three Bulletin-area high school squads begin section team play this week.
Mounds View is the likely No. 1 seed in Section 5AA and is chasing its seventh consecutive trip to state. The 5AA team tournament starts Wednesday but the Mustangs, if they do receive the top seed, will receive a first-round bye and will open the playoffs on Thursday.
The team tournament continues with the semifinals on Oct. 8 and the championship match on Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. at the Baseline Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
Once the team portion of the section tournament wraps up, the section singles and doubles tournaments take center stage. They are Oct. 14 and 15 at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis and will feature Mounds View senior Summer Brills beginning defense of her state singles championship.
Aside from one week in early September, Brills has been ranked No. 1 in the state in the Class AA singles poll. She briefly dropped to No. 2 following a loss in the Rochester Mayo Invitational on Sept. 7. The loss was the only one Brills has suffered so far this season and she used it as motivation rather than letting it get to her mentally.
“I feel like it makes me stronger,” Brills said. “It makes me know that I can’t take any match for granted. I think that’s what I did with that match. It makes me fight even harder because I don’t want to lose any more.”
Brills rebounded quickly as she beat Edina’s Caitlin Merzbacher on Sept. 9. Merzbacher is the daughter of University of Minnesota women’s tennis coach Chuck Merzbacher and moved to Minnesota back in February. Caitlin Merzbacher has been ranked third or fourth all season.
Aside from the early loss, the season has gone well for Brills.
“It’s been going really good,” Brills said. “It’s been a fun senior year. It’s fun being a captain. I like being a leader on the team.”
Being the defending state singles champion comes with some added pressure each time Brills steps on the court for a match.
“There’s a little pressure because I want to uphold my title and I don’t want to let myself down,” said Brills.
While trying to repeat as state champion occupies her mind a good deal, something she doesn’t have to fret over is where she’ll go to college next year. She has given a verbal commitment to play tennis at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and is planning on signing her letter of intent in November.
The Knights also play in Section 5AA and will be in action on Wednesday. Irondale needs to earn a top-eight seed to get a home match.
Irondale has six victories this season and picked them up in one seven-match stretch. The Knights rattled off four straight wins before dropping a match to Totino-Grace. They then won two in a row following the loss.
The Knights enter the post-season having lost their last three regular-season matches.
St. Anthony Village
The Huskies play in Section 6AA and open the post-season on Wednesday. Seeds for the section team tournament were not available before this edition of the Bulletin went to press.
The 6AA tournament continues on Thursday and resumes next week with quarterfinals on Oct. 7 and the semifinals and final on Oct. 9.
The singles and doubles tournaments take place Oct. 14-15 at the Baseline Tennis Center.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.