Girls tennis: Ponies advance three to state


MINNEAPOLIS — After qualifying for the state team tournament last week, the Stillwater girls’ tennis team will be represented in the individual singles and doubles brackets as well following Section 4AA play on Tuesday at the University of Minnesota’s Baseline Tennis Center.

Stillwater’s Savannah Johnson and Aliza Deming, who played second and third singles for most of the season, did not lose a set in five section matches while claiming first place in the doubles tournament.

They will be joined by singles standout Natalie Phippen, who placed second to earn her fourth trip to the state tournament — including three of the past four years in singles after advancing to state in doubles as an eighth-grader.

The state team tournament is conducted at the Baseline Tennis Center on Oct. 23-24, with the individual competition slated to follow on Oct. 25-26.

Johnson and Deming qualified for the finals with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Roseville’s Jacqlyn Poss and Jordan Danielson. The Ponies, who were seeded third, then knocked off top-seeded Taylor Anderson and Natalie Robinson of East Ridge 6-4, 6-3 to claim the section title.

“They played smart, consistent tennis all the way through,” Ponies coach Dave Kahl said. “They both had moments that they really elevated their games and made clutch shots at crucial times in the match.”

Phippen, meanwhile, cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 semifinal victory over White Bear Lake’s Lauren Welch before falling in three sets to defending section champion Helen Klass-Warch of St. Paul Central, who won by scores of 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.

“Natalie played a really nice, clean semifinal,” Kahl said. “In the final, she withstood a first set where Klass-Warch absolutely played out of this world, and just kept battling and competing to come back and take the second set before falling in the third. It was a very high-level match.”

n Match-ups for the Class AA state team tournament were announced on Wednesday morning and the Ponies will face second-seeded Minnetonka in the quarterfinals at noon on Tuesday. The other quarterfinal matche-ups feature #1 Edina vs. Elk River, #4 Rochester Century vs. #5 Mounds View and #3 Prior Lake vs. St. Cloud Tech.



Semifinals — #1 Helen Klass-Warch (SPC) def. #4 Olivia Paradise (Mah) 6-3, 6-2; #2 Natalie Phippen (St) def. #3 Lauren Welch (WBL) 6-0, 6-2.

Finals — Klass-Warch (SPC) def. Phippen (St) 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.



Semifinals — #1 Taylor Anderson-Natalie Robinson (ER) def. Zoe Klass Warch-Jada Konop DeFreitas (SPC) 6-4, 6-2; #3 Savannah Johnson-Aliza Deming (St) def. #2 Jacqlyn Poss-Jordan Danielson (Ros) 7-5, 6-4.

Finals — Johnson-Deming (St) def. Anderson-Robinson (ER) 6-4, 6-3.