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Girls tennis: Irish fourth at state

Captains Layna Mestad, Megan Harrington and Ally Baker hold the team's trophy after last week's fourth place finish.

It took one of the state's best teams and one of the state's best players to knock Rosemount out of last week's Class 2A State Tennis Tournaments.

Rosemount, competing in the team tournament for the second time in three years, advanced past Brainerd 4-3 in the opening round last Tuesday before falling to eventual runner-up Rochester Mayo 6-1 in the semifinals. The Irish then lost a 4-3 nail-biter to Elk River in the third-place match last Wednesday, leaving them with a program-best fourth-place finish in the eight-team field at the University of Minnesota's Baseline Tennis Center.

"I'm very proud of the Irish and their never-say-die attitude they had and carried throughout the entire season," Rosemount coach Dana Beck said.

No. 1 singles player Virginia Norder continued play Thursday as she competed in the Class 2A State singles tournament for the third straight year. The sophomore opened with her first-ever first-round victory, defeating Natalie Phippen of Stillwater Area 6-1, 6-2, before being defeated by top-ranked and defending state champion Kelsey Frechette of Rochester Century (6-0, 6-2) for the second straight year.

"She played well against Kelsey and had some great points," Beck said.

Norder led a dominant effort in singles play that carried the Irish past Brainerd in the first round. She held on for a 6-2, 7-5 win and Ally Baker and Kirsten Hoffmann each followed with straight set victories as the Irish went 3-1 in four singles matches.

The team needed to claim just one doubles match to advance and they got it from the No. 3 doubles team of Rachel Hoffmann and Rachel Olson (6-4, 6-2).

Rochester Mayo swept the three doubles matches as they advanced past the Irish 6-1 in the second round. Rosemount's lone win came at No. 4 singles where Kirsten Hoffmann claimed a 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) triumph.

Kirsten Hoffmann capped a perfect 3-0 record in the team tournament with a 6-4, 6-2 decision against Elk River. Baker added a 6-0, 6-4 win at No. 2 singles and Layna Mestad and Abby Kohagen rallied for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 decision at No. 1 doubles.

Elk River earned the third-place match thanks to three-set victories at No. 1 singles, No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles. Edina went on to defeat Rochester Mayo 5-2 and capture its 15th consecutive state team championship.