There were times, Olivia Paradise said, that even picking up a tennis racquet was a chore. The Mahtomedi junior has battled nerve damage in both arms, forcing her to miss most of the Zephyrs’ season.
“I think I only played in three matches all season,” Paradise said. “I tried, but I just couldn’t do it. It felt like needles shooting through my arms.”
Through rest and physical therapy, Paradise made it back into the Zephyrs’ lineup in time to help the team qualify for the state tournament. Now fully healed, she resumed her position at the top of the Mahtomedi singles lineup and helped the No. 5-seeded Zephyrs defeat No. 4-seeded Prior Lake 5-2 on Tuesday in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
Paradise defeated Prior Lake’s Savanna Crowell 7-5, 6-3 at No. 1 singles, heading a Mahtomedi sweep of the singles matches.
“It felt great,” Paradise said of her victory. “I don’t feel like I’m all the way back yet because I’m just getting used to playing matches again, but Savanna is always tough. I feel pretty lucky.”
Playing much of the season without Paradise and No. 4 singles player Annie Stutz, who also missed time because of an injury, made the Zephyrs a tougher team, senior captain Maggie Riermann said.
“We learned not to make excuses,” Riermann said. “We can play with adversity.”
Setting record straight
After Edina’s 6-1 victory over Delano, junior Sophie Reddy, the state’s top-ranked singles player, put an end to the rumors that have dogged her all season, questioning her commitment to high school tennis.
“At the end of the summer, I was dealing with some personal stuff and I didn’t think I was going to play,” she said. “But I love high school tennis, and my parents and I decided I should play. It’s been so fun. I’m glad I did. And I’ll be back next year, too.”
Reddy defeated Delano’s Ginger Valentine 6-0, 6-0, leading an Edina sweep of the singles. The Hornets, shooting for their 20th consecutive Class 2A title, also got victories at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles.
Huge early win
Taylor Tarrolly doesn’t like to leave things to chance. The St. Cloud Tech senior and No. 1 singles player is as orderly as a Trapper Keeper.
“I like to have everything planned out,” she said after No. 2-seeded Tech’s 4-3 victory over Duluth East. “My coach [Paul Bates] has a phrase he says to keep me in the present: ‘Day-to-day, Tay.’ ”
The Tigers opened the season with a victory over Edina and haven’t a lost a match all year. Tarrolly, the eldest of three sisters who play for Tech, said that was not something she had planned.
“I didn’t see that coming,” she said. “Beating Edina was a huge confidence booster for us. That’s never happened before. It made us feel we could accomplish anything.”
St. Cloud Tech will meet No. 3-seeded Eagan, which slipped past Rochester Mayo 5-2, in the semifinals on Wednesday.
Class 1A predictable
There were no surprises on the first day of the 1A tournament at Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
Virginia downed Roseau 5-2 and Rochester Lourdes defeated Minnewaska 6-1 in the morning.
In the other half of the bracket, defending champion Blake, ranked No. 1 in the state, had little trouble defeating St. James 7-0. The Bears will meet Foley, a 4-3 victor over Holy Family, in Wednesday’s semifinals.