Girls tennis: Ponies finish second at season opener

Gazette photos by Stuart Groskreutz
Stillwater’s Savannah Johnson belts a backhand during her match against Apple Valley’s Malini Wijesinghe at second singles in the McGuire Invitational on Friday at Stillwater Area High School.


OAK PARK HEIGHTS — The Stillwater girls’ tennis team kicked off its season on Friday with a runner-up showing behind Rochester Century at the eight-team McGuire Invitational that was based at Stillwater Area High School.

The Ponies, who placed fifth at this event a year ago, advanced to the finals at five of the seven spots in the lineup to total 25 points. Century scored 35 points to repeat as tournament champion while Mahtomedi finished in third with 20 points.


Shelby Anderson rips a serve while playing at first doubles with partner Jackie Ellingson in Friday’s McGuire Invitational at Stillwater Area High School.

“We had a great day,” Ponies coach Dave Kahl said.

Natalie Phippen provided the lone first-place finish for Stillwater while winning all three matches in straight sets, including a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Century’s Maddy Kircher in the finals. Phippen opened with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Taylor Shortly of Forest Lake and defeated Zoe Klass-Warch of St. Paul Central 7-6, 6-2 in the semifinals.

Stillwater placed second at third and fourth singles and was also the runner-up at second and third doubles.

Aliza Deming defeated Sarah Link of Hill-Murray and Erin Hoffman of Mahtomedi before falling to Sheri Hawkins of Century 3-6, 6-3, (10-7) in the finals at third singles. Jenna Sherrick advanced to the finals with victories of Emily Cooper of Mahtomedi and Natalie Wright of Forest Lake before losing to Bri Demaray of Century.

Playing at second singles, Stillwater’s Savannah Johnson bounced back from a first-round loss to finish fifth after defeating Anastasia Bruss of Century 6-3, 6-3 in the consolation finals.

Stillwater’s Shelby Ahrendt and Hannah Quinn cruised into the finals at second doubles before getting stopped by Sara Manulik and Jen Kim 6-3, 7-5 in the finals. The Ponies used three different teams at No. 3 doubles where Robbie Ellingson and Kelia Deming lost in the finals to Century’s Ankitna Madde and Rayna Wang 6-1, 6-3. The doubles teams of Emma Germundson-Remi Larson and Amanda Williams-Maggie Corman prevailed for Stillwater in the quarterfinals and semifinals.


Team standings

1. Rochester Century 35; 2. Stillwater 25; 3. Mahtomedi 20; 4. Forest Lake 15; 5. Hill-Murray 13; 6. Apple Valley 12; 7. Rochester Lourdes 7; 8. St. Paul Central 6.

Stillwater results


            No. 1 — Natalie Phippen (3-0, 1st place): def. Taylor Shortly (FL) 6-0, 6-0; def. Zoe Klass-Warch (SPC) 7-6, 6-2; def. Maddy Kircher (RC) 6-1, 6-3.

No. 2 — Savannah Johnson (1-2, 5th place): lost to Malini Wijesinghe (AV) 6-4, 6-1; def. Caitlyn Norman (SPC) 6-2, 6-0; def. Anastasia Bruss (RC) 6-3, 6-3.

No. 3 — Aliza Deming (2-1, 2nd place): def. Sarah Link (H-M) 6-1, 6-0; def. Erin Hoffman (Mah) 6-1, 6-3; lost to Sheri Hawkins (RC) 3-6, 6-3, (10-7).

No. 4 — Jenna Sherrick (2-1, 2nd place): def. Emily Cooper (Mah) 7-5, 6-4; def. Natalie Wright (FL) 6-2, 6-2; lost to Bri Demaray (RC) 6-4, 6-3.



            No. 1 — Shelby Anderson-Jackie Ellingson (1-2, 7th place): lost to Katie Aney-Natalie Phillips (RC) 6-4, 6-3; lost to Hannah Shands-Madison Fernandez (Mah) 6-3, 6-2; def. Juliet Slade-Jada Konop (SPC) 6-4, 6-0.

No. 2 — Shelby Ahrendt-Hannah Quinn (2-1, 2nd place): def. Grace Gorman-Shannon Peterson (RL) 6-1, 6-1; def. Alexa Hazelton-Christine Walz (H-M) 6-2, 6-1; lost to Sara Manulik-Jen Kim (RC) 6-3, 7-5.

No. 3 — Stillwater (2-1, 2nd place): Emma Germundson-Remi Larson (St) def. Emily Davis-Natalie Van Why (SPC) 6-0, 6-0; Amanda Williams-Maggie Corman (St) def. Alex Kent-Carol Weenit (Mah) 7-5, 6-0; Robbie Ellingson-Kelia Deming (St) lost to Ankitna Madde-Rayna Wang (RC) 6-1, 6-3.