Champlin Park girls tennis came into the 5AA team section as a No. 2 seed with a 16-2 overall record, but once No. 7 Buffalo got through the bracket, the seeds didn’t really matter.
Buffalo came in 15-10-1, but the last time the Rebels played the Bison they eked out a 4-3 win in August so the 5AA team section quarterfinal Oct. 6 was expected to be just as close.
There were some shake-ups in the lineup from the earlier meeting as both teams looked to grab an advantage, and Buffalo’s moves, unfortunately, worked more as Champlin Park fell 5-2.
The Bison moved junior Alaina Lee to No. 2 singles from No. 1 doubles and moved sophomore Kiley Herbst to No. 3 singles. Eighth-grader Lauren Berg replaced junior Katherine Berg at No. 4 singles.
They also paired up senior Grace Murphy and junior Aspen Adams at No. 1 doubles. Adams was at No. 3 doubles last time, and Murphy was at No. 2 doubles.
Juniors Erica Kyllonen and Ellie Stonecipher were at No. 2 doubles. Kyllonen was at No. 3 singles last time, and Stonecipher was at No. 1 doubles.
Senior Nicole Swartzer, who didn’t compete against Champlin Park last time, joined sophomore Megan Steinmetz at No. 3 doubles.
For the Rebels, junior Yulia Horton and sophomore Debbie Ogdahl swapped to No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles, respectively. Ogdahl joined senior Alyssa Ostendorf, who was at No. 2 doubles last time.
Junior Vanessa Pham also dropped down to No. 2 doubles with senior Lauren Knutson.
The changes led to one change in the singles results, as junior Veranique Poquette fell 3-6, 2-6 to Alaina Lee at No. 2 singles. Poquette defeated Herbst last time.
Junior Alex Repplier fell 3-6, 2-6 to senior Anna Lee in a tough No. 1 singles matchup, and junior Yulia Horton did earn a 7-5, 6-3 win over Herbst at No. 3 singles.
Sophomore Annabelle Johnson continued to do well at No. 4 singles with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Lauren Berg.
The Bison also picked up a win at No. 2 doubles, which they didn’t do in August. Knutson and Pham fell 4-6, 6-7 (7) in a hard-fought match against Kyllonen and Stonecipher.
Ogdahl and Ostendorf also couldn’t make up ground at No. 1 doubles in a 2-6, 4-6 loss to Murphy and Adams.
Rote and Langel also dropped their match at No. 3 doubles, falling 7-5, 0-6, 3-6 to Steinmetz and Swartzer.
Despite the tough ending to the team season, the individual season is alive and well in 2021. After the 2020 individual section tournament was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be several girls looking to make state this time.
The 5AA individual section is Oct. 18-19 at Innercity Tennis in Minneapolis.
The Rebels have several candidates to make a run and challenge for a medal or a state berth depending on where everyone falls in the brackets.
Repplier (11-4 overall) has played at No. 1 singles this season, but she took fourth place in 2018 and 2019 paired up with a teammate in the doubles bracket.
Poquette (13-5), Ogdahl (12-7), Yorton (15-2) have played both singles and doubles, and Johnson (15-2) has primarily been at No. 4 singles all season.
Ostendorf (11-7) and Knutson (7-9) both have a lot of experience at doubles, and Rote (10-7) and Langel (9-8) also had winning records paired together most of the season at No. 3 doubles.
Each team can only have two singles participants and two doubles participants, so not everyone will get to compete at individual sections.
While Repplier is expected to be one of the eight chosen players, seniors are usually given a chance at one more meet, as well. That would mean that Ostendorf and Knutson are also expected to be competing.
With so many other winning records, any of the other girls could have a shot at competing.