Edina tennis hits Sweet 16

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 24, 2012 - 9:58 PM

The Hornets extended their streak of team championship titles, and they did it in dominant fashion against Minnetonka.

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Edina's Meghan Herring (face to camera) hugged her doubles partner Morgan Marinovich after they won their championship match.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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Every streak has a beginning. The ending, however, is much more difficult to determine.

In Edina's case, its run of consecutive girls' tennis state championships had unspectacular origins, a 1997 team that went undefeated after a four-year tournament absence.

Championships began to build, one after another, until the streak itself became the thing.

Thirteen. Fourteen. Fifteen.

In the meantime, inquiries became assumptions. Victory was not only possible, but it was assumed. Pressure -- to win, to keep the streak going -- became inevitable.

Which explains the deafening shriek that filled the Baseline Tennis Center on the University of Minnesota campus Wednesday afternoon when the Hornets clinched their 16th consecutive Class 2A team title, beating Minnetonka 7-0 in the finals.

It was joy, no doubt, at winning a state championship. But it carried with it a large exhalation of relief. No. 16 was in the book.

"It's such a big relief," said senior captain Meghan Herring.

Her co-captain and doubles partner, Morgan Marinovich, expanded on Herring's thoughts.

"There is a huge amount of pressure," Marinovich said. "Not from our coach, but from expectations. But mostly from ourselves. No one wants to be the team that has the streak end."

Not that it was ever in jeopardy. After rolling over upstart Rochester Century in the semifinals, Edina had little trouble dispatching its Lake Conference rivals in the finals.

The No. 2-seeded Skippers were expected to put up a fight but instead went down without winning a set.

"We're not making any excuses, because Edina's a great team," said Minnetonka captain Sydney Baldwin. "But the legend of Edina got into our heads. You need to be more emotionally stable to beat them."

The streak struck again.

Sweet No. 16 carried with it additional heft. It put Edina alone in first place in the record books for the most consecutive girls' high school tennis team championships in U.S. history.

The Hornets had shared the previous record with very familiar name: Edina, which had won 15 in a row from 1978 through 1992.

"It was incredible last year," said Herring. "But this triples it."

Class 1A: Blake repeats

It was no contest, really.

Blake, with nine players remaining from its 2011 state championship team, left no doubt about who was the class of the smaller class.

The Bears swept three consecutive opponents, the last being a 7-0 drubbing of Annandale in the championship match, to reaffirm its status.

"I think winning 7-0 in all three matches proves that we were no fluke last year," said senior captain Maddy Hall. "We played our game through the entire tournament. I think we're just as good as Edina."

Even an electrical outage at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center, which delayed to finals for 50 minutes, had no effect.

Said Hall: "We had another team meeting after that. Our coach, Jeanette [Vickman], made us focus on things we could control."

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