There was little drama in the Class 1A girls’ tennis team tournament and, to be truthful, none was expected.
Blake has been ranked No. 1 all season and had a lineup that featured three players among the top 10 in the state. A loss would have been big news, but the Bears’ second consecutive state championship, which they accomplished with a convincing 6-1 victory over Rochester Lourdes in the finals, was anticipated.
“I talked about that all year,” first-year coach Mike Ach said. “Put in the hard work and let the winning take care of itself.”
Ach said he noticed right away that this group was determined to win another title. There was no way his team would take anything for granted.
“I came in blind,” said Ach, a longtime assistant for boys’ coach Ted Warner. “I didn’t know the girls and they didn’t know me. But the leadership on this team was fantastic. They accepted me and believed in what I was saying, which doesn’t always happen. There wasn’t one problem all year.”
The Bears dominated at singles, led by senior Libby Rickeman, the defending Class 1A champion. They routed Foley 7-0 in the semifinals before defeating Lourdes in the finals, losing just two singles games in eight total matches.
“The top girls performed the way we expected and we got rock-solid performances from the younger girls,” Ach said.
“It’s all about the mental toughness. We preach not giving away points. If we’re going to get beat, make them earn it. And they came out, gave their all and did just that.”
The victory is the 10th state championship overall for Blake.