Depth leads Osseo girls’ tennis team to 2 victories

Maddie Larsen plays third singles for the Maple Grove third singles team. In this photo, Larsen prepares for a shot during her match against Anoka on Thursday, Sept. 3. The Crimson won the match, 6-1, to remain unbeaten on the season. (Photo by Tom Fenton)

Improved depth has allowed coach Eric Ruska the opportunity to get creative with his Ossoe girls’ tennis lineup. In a 7-0 win over Park Center in windy conditions on Sept. 3, Osseo used an all-senior lineup, with several getting their first varsity experience.

“Using all seniors is something we haven’t been able to do,” Ruska said after his team improved to 3-1. “Our players took care of business.”

Earning their first career varsity victories for the Orioles were Ella Crawford at No. 3 singles, Erykka Schultz at No. 4 singles, and the third doubles team of Abby Todey and Katie McShane. Osseo also got singles wins from Tina Corniea and Emma Roeder, with additional doubles victories coming from Greta Kitelinger and Jaelon Irmiter at No. 1, and Natalie Willis and Bailey Smith at No. 2.

The last time Osseo beat Coon Rapids was 15 years ago. That streak came to a close in convincing fashion on Tuesday, Sept. 1, in a 7-0 victory.

“All our players competed at a really high level,” Ruska said.

The Orioles got singles wins from Rachel Zeltinger, Hana Johnson, Abby Kettlewell and Corniea. Doubles victories from Irmiter and Kitelinger, Sonja Coomes and Toria Askwith, and Wills and Roeder.


The strong start to the season continued for the Crimson, who improved to 4-0. Maple Grove earned a 6-1 win at Anoka on a gusty afternoon on Thursday, Sept. 3. The only loss in the match came in a third-set tiebreaker at No. 1 doubles.

The Crimson on Tuesday, Sept. 1, swept Park Center, 7-0.

“I thought our girls played extremely well against an Anoka team that worked hard and had fun playing tennis,” head coach Dan Haertl said. “We have a tough match on Wednesday (Sept. 9) at Champlin Park. We know we will have to play some good tennis to come home with a win. Our girls have been working hard. I am fortunate to be their coach.”

All four singles players are undefeated.

“Our 3 and 4 in particular, Maddie Larsen, an eighth grader, has improved significantly over last year,” head coach Dan Haertl said. “Gabi Parker, our 4th singles player, a 10th grader who played for the JV team last year has had four outstanding matches. Grace Bakke, a senior and one of our captains has been playing 2 singles and has had strong wins. Zoe Adkins at 1 is amazing, and just keeps getting better.

“We have six girls in the doubles lineup that also have been playing so well. Neeru Uppala and Ally Kalinsky are playing No. 1. Neeru played 3 singles last year and Ally played 2 doubles. Every match they are improving. Sarah McGraw and Anusha Patel, another captain are at 2. They played 3 doubles last year, but are much improved. Ashley Denninger and Bethany Smith are playing 3. Ashley another captain is an excellent doubles player, and so good at the net. Bethany played JV tennis last year and has improved a great deal.”


The 2020 season is off to a quick start for the Crimson, who earned an important Northwest Suburban Conference 1-0 victory over Centennial on Sept. 2. The only goal came from Christopher Frantz, who broke the scoreless contest in the 56th minute. Sophomore goalkeeper Holden Waldrum made 10 saves in the victory.

The Crimson opened the season with a 4-2 win over Rogers with the help of three second-half goals. Nathan Peters, Kebba Janneh, Damon Humphrey and Frantz each scored for Maple Grove.


The Crimson are enduring some growing pains after losing much of their firepower from last year’s Class 2A state championship team. Maple Grove opened the season with a 1-0 loss to Rogers on Aug. 31 and suffered a 1-0 setback at Centennial on Sept. 2.


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