Mustangs tennis headed to state again

After a two-year absence from the state tournament earlier this decade, the Mounds View High School boys tennis team is headed to state for the second consecutive year. The Mustangs clinched their spot in the state tournament by beating Maple Grove 5-2 in the Section 5AA final on May 19 at Park Center High School.

While the teams competing, the location, and the weather were the same as last year when the two squads met in the section final, this year's match had a different feel. Mounds View entered last year's section final as the underdog after having lost to the Crimson earlier in the season.

This time around, the Mustangs (19-1) were the clear favorite. They have been ranked No. 1 most of the season, hadn't lost since April 7 and won the prestigious Edina tournament for the second year in a row.

"It's a very different feel," said Mounds View head coach Mike Cartwright. "We have the No. 1 ranking and the No. 1 seed. There was just more of a confidence that we'll get the job done. Our doubles really demonstrated that."

The doubles teams were dominant, losing just one game in six sets. Carter Jones and Abraham Alex won their match at No. 1 double 6-0, 6-1 while the No. 2 team of Sam Hohenshell and Michael Conlin-Brandenburg and the No. 3 team of Andrew Tang and Michael Cao won their matches 6-0, 6-0.

"That's incredible doubles play," Cartwright said.

With the three doubles points secured, the Mustangs needed to find a singles point to wrap up the match and the state tournament berth. They came up with two as Hunter Heck won 6-0, 6-3 at No. 3 singles and Petro Alex won 6-0, 6-1 at No. 4.

"Singles came through where we needed them," Cartwright said. "(Maple Grove's) singles lineup is awfully strong, but we got the points that we needed."

Mounds View is likely to be the No. 1 seed in the Class AA team tournament next week. That's the same position the Mustangs were in a year ago when they failed to make it out of the quarterfinals. They were upset by East Ridge and ended up settling for the consolation championship.

"We want to learn from last year and be better prepared for the first round," Cartwright noted. "East Ridge played great last year and we just weren't ready for them. We're going to try and not make that mistake this year."

With a good number of players on last year's team back this season, Cartwright expects his players to be ready for the big stage of the state tournament.

"They know how it felt," Cartwright said. "They haven't forgotten. I think they're going to take it a lot more seriously. We'll try to be more focused on our preparation."

The team portion of the state tournament is June 2-3 at the Baseline Tennis Center. If they are the No. 1 seed, they'll have to play their first match at 8 p.m. on the June 2, the morning after the all-night senior class party.

"Some things are beyond our control," said Cartwright.

Singles/doubles

The state singles and doubles tournaments run June 3-4 at Baseline. The entries for those events from Section 5AA will be determined May 27.

Representing Mounds View in the section singles tournament are Trondson, who is seeded No. 2, and Krebsbach, who is the fifth seed. In doubles, Jones and Abraham Alex are seeded second while Heck and Petro Alex are unseeded.

Irondale has the No. 3 seed in the section doubles tournament in the brother duo of Peter Lyngdal and Timothy Lyngdal. The Knights' other doubles squad in the section tournament is Nicholas Kanning and Ryan Norlinger.

Playing singles for Irondale are Max Eilefson and Jack Grahek.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.
 

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