Mounds View junior wins girls tennis program's first state title

After breezing through the first two rounds of the Class AA state singles tournament last Thursday, Mounds View High School junior Summer Brills was two wins away from a state championship. She lost just six games in those two matches but clinching the championship turned out to be much more difficult on day two.

Brills played nearly six hours of tennis in the final two rounds on Friday but all that extra work paid off. Brills captured Mounds View's first girls tennis state championship of any kind.

"I really wanted to get the state title for Mounds View," Brills said after clinching the title.

Brills opened the tournament on Thursday by defeating Bemidji senior Jessica Solberg 6-1, 6-2 in the first round and Eagan senior Danielle Donahue 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. Those matches probably felt like walks in the park compared to what Brills went through on Friday.

In the semifinals on Friday, Brills faced Andover senior Faith Lee, who took out the No. 4 seed in the first round. Brills beat Lee 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in a match that last nearly three hours.

Thanks to a Minnesota State High School League rule, a player who plays a three-set match that takes at least two hours has the option of taking up two hours before playing in another match. Brills opted to rest for 90 minutes before facing Edina seventh-grader Sophia Reddy in the finals.

That turned out to be a good idea because Brills was in for another three-set marathon. She won the first set 6-4 but lost set No. 2 in a tie-breaker. After a short break, Brills went out and took control in set three, winning it 6-1.

"I just wanted it so bad," said Brills. "I knew that I worked so hard. I play all year long and I worked so hard this summer."

In addition to Brills, Mounds View also had a doubles team qualify for the state tournament. Seniors Kourtney Jakubic and Paige Thayer played a pair of matches that went three sets but were unable to come up with a victory.

They opened the tournament by losing 2-6, 6-4, 4-6 to Prior Lake's Chloe Hall and Savanna Crowell. In the first round of the consolation bracket, they fell to Stillwater's Savannah Johnson and Aliza Deming 4-6, 6-4, 0-1 (7-10). All the consolation matches that went to a third set were decided by a super tie-breaker, which awards the match to the first team to reach 10 points.

In the team competition, Mounds View finished sixth. The Mustangs lost to Rochester Century in the quarterfinals, rebounded to knock off Elk River in the consolation semifinals and then lost to Stillwater in the consolation championship match.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.