The upcoming Class 2A girls' tennis state tournament, which is just about a month away, should be one of the more interesting in the last 20 years.
That was the last time a team other than Edina won the 2A team title. While Edina is once again considered among the favorites, another Hornets title is not the slam-dunk it has been in previous seasons.
Edina's vulnerability was proven once again Wednesday when the No. 2-ranked Hornets lost 5-2 to No. 3 Prior Lake, the two-time state runner-up. It is believed to be the first time Edina, which had a string of 215 consecutive dual-meet victories ended in 2008, has lost twice in a single season during their current 19-year reign as champions. They fell to top-ranked St. Cloud Tech in season-opener.
Prior Lake's victory came one day after the Lakers suffered their only defeat of the season, a 5-2 loss to No. 4 Eagan. The Lakers (10-1) swept the four singles matches against the Hornets and also picked up a point at third doubles.
Prior Lake coach P.J. Priest said the loss to Eagan was "probably the best thing that could have happened to us. It was an eye-opener. The girls really responded after a disappointing loss."
Hornets coach Steve Paulsen gave credit to Prior Lake for the victory but added that he's not worried about his team being ready for the post-season. A flu bug hit the Hornets a few days earlier and they played the match without No. 1 singles player Sophie Reddy.
"Prior Lake played better than us," Paulsen said. "They won three of four three-setters. Hopefully, we'll get the crud out of our system soon. We should have a full lineup come tourney time."
Jim Paulsen • 612-673-7737