High school fall sports underway

The calendar might still say August but autumn is on the minds of plenty of people this week, especially anyone associated with high school sports. That’s because the start of the school year is right around the corner and that means that fall prep sports are underway.

From cross country to football, soccer to volleyball, practices for Minnesota high school fall sports started on August 15 and there are even some games this week.

Mounds View High School’s girls tennis holds the distinction of having the first event from among the Bulletin-area high schools. The Mustangs travel to Spring Lake Park for a non-conference dual match on Friday, Aug. 19.

With the season in full swing, here’s a quick look at some storylines to keep an eye on this fall.

 

Girls soccer

The Mounds View girls soccer team last season went undefeated in the regular season for the second time in three years. The Mustangs then breezed through the section playoffs to reach the state tournament, where they finished fourth.

The Mustangs’ lineup will look different this season thanks to the graduation of eight seniors from last year’s squad. The coaching staff also has changed with Katelynn Fast taking over the head coaching position from Terri Patraw, a 1987 Mounds View graduate who coached at the school for the past three seasons.

Among the seniors from last year who need to be replaced are the Boyer sisters. Rachel was a Ms. Soccer finalist and she and twin sister Emily are at North Dakota State University this fall.

Mounds View puts its 15-game, regular-season winning streak on the line on Thursday, Aug. 25 when it opens the season with a non-conference match at Champlin Park. The last time the Mustangs lost a regular-season contest was Sept. 23, 2014 when White Bear Lake knocked them off 2-1.

 

Girls tennis

The Mounds View girls tennis team had become a fixture at the state tournament in recent years, having qualified in eight consecutive seasons. That streak came to an end last year as the Mustangs were shifted to a new section.

All eight of those state appearances came when Mounds View was a member of Section 5AA. The Minnesota State High School League moved the Mustangs into Section 4AA for 2015 and 2016 and that move put two top-10 programs in the same section.

Mahtomedi was ranked No. 3 in the state heading to the post-season last year and beat Mounds View 4-3 in the section final.

Ali Kopiecki was Mounds View’s lone state representative in 2015. She qualified for state in singles but faced a tough draw in the tournament as she went up against top-seeded Hayley Haakenstad of Chanhassen. Haakenstad beat Kopiecki in straight sets and went on to win the state singles championship.

 

Football

All three Bulletin-area prep football teams struggled through sub-par seasons a year ago and are looking to turn things around this fall. 

Mounds View went only 4-4 in the regular season and with a loss in the first round of the playoffs finished below .500 for the first time in more than 15 years.

Irondale opened the 2015 season with a victory over Waconia but then lost its next seven games to finish the regular season 1-7. The Knights pulled off an upset in the first round of the playoffs and then lost in the second round to finish the season 2-8.

St. Anthony Village lost its first five games before closing out the regular season with wins in two its final three games. The Huskies went 1-1 in the section playoffs and posted a final record of 3-7.

All three teams play the same slate of teams in the regular season this fall as they did last fall and in the same order. The only change is in the venue for each game. The teams they played at home in 2015 will host them this year while the road teams they faced last year will pay visits this year.

Irondale gets its season underway on Thursday, Sept. 1 when Waconia pays a visit. The Knights beat the Wildcats 21-19 in the season opener in 2015.

Mounds View and St. Anthony both play their first games on Friday, Sept. 2. Mounds View travels to Farmington while St. Anthony visits Mound Westonka. The Mustangs beat Farmington 28-7 in week one in 2015 while the Huskies dropped their 2015 season opener 29-0 to the White Hawks, which finished the regular season undefeated.

 

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

 

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