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Rosemount girls' tennis goes 2-1

The Rosemount girls' tennis team poses after hosting the Irish Invitational where they went 1-1. In the front are the three medal winners Livia Leary, Megan larson and Lillie Rapp. Photo courtesy of Matt Knutson

The Rosemount girls' tennis team unexpectedly found itself with a new head coach, but that has not stopped them from getting out to a great start this season. Head coach Matt Knutson took over suddenly after former head coach Dana Hansen stepped down and the Irish are 6-2 so far.

Rosemount started the year with matches against Suburban South opponents Eastview, Burnsville and Apple Valley, as well as the Hastings Invite (interrupted by rain), which is a little different from many school's schedules that start with nonconference opponents. After a loss at Eastview, the Irish came out and grabbed two wins at the Hastings Invite, beat Burnsville 5-2 on Aug. 29 in their first home meet, and then defeated Apple Valley 4-3 on Aug. 31.

"Burnsville is a quality team and gave us some really good matches," Knutson said. "It was fun to watch the girls fight through it and pull together (as a team). These last two matches, they've faced different moments where they have had to fight mentally in the match and face adversity. They've really stepped up as a team and I'm excited to see what will happen the rest of the year."

The Irish continued their winning ways with a 5-2 victory of another conference foe, Shakopee, and then beat Bloomington Jefferson 7-0 in the first match of the Irish Invitational. While they dropped their last match 5-2 to Buffalo, Rosemount is off to a great start, especially in conference. Junior Livia Leary, who plays third singles, and the third doubles team of juniors Megan Larson and Lillie Rapp were awarded medals at the invitational after going undefeated on the day.

Knutson said that while the Irish have performance goals, he also wants their experience to benefit them in life as well.

"As a team, of course the top goal is to take the top spot in the conference, or to be a top-three team in the conference and use the progression of matches to get them ready for sections," he explained. "But then there are lifelong things that you want them to develop throughout the year and carry on through their tennis and into life, the mental toughness in the face of adversity, the confidence that tennis is so focused around and the team chemistry and camaraderie."

The Tigers travel to Lakeville North on Sept. 12, and then go to Mankato West for an Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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