Are you ready for some playoffs?
Sure, it's only early October, and the fall sports season extends into late November, but the beginning of the end starts this week as the girls' tennis section playoffs get underway.
One team to keep an eye on is Eagan, which won South Suburban Conference title, the first conference championship for the Wildcats since 2002. They earned the No. 1 seed in Section 3, 2A and a bye into the quarterfinals.
Eagan has lost just twice this season, to 19-time defending champion Edina in early September and to No. 1, 1A Blake in the next-to-last match of the season.
Here's a look some juicy matchups on tap this week:
Thursday: North St. Paul at St. Thomas Academy, 7 p.m.; Orono at Blake, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Minnetonka at Wayzata, 1 p.m.
Saturday: Minnetonka at Wayzata, 3 p.m.; Mahtomedi at Benilde-St. Margaret's, 5 p.m.
Tuesday: Shakopee at Eagan, 7 p.m.; Waconia at Belle Plaine, 7 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: Midwest Classic. 32 teams, including Champlin Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Waconia and Wayzata, at St. Michael-Albertville. Friday, 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.
METRO FOOTBALL TOP 10
Staff writer Jim Paulsen's rankings of the top teams in metro through five weeks of play.
1. Totino-Grace (5-0): The Eagles survived at Blaine, winning 21-14 on an opportunistic offense and a bend-but-don't-break defense. Not every victory is going to be a work of art.
2. Lakeville North (5-0): RB Wade Sullivan has scored 96 points (16 touchdowns). That's more than 44 metro teams have scored.
3. Rosemount (5-0): Conversely, the Irish have given up just 35 total points in five games, only four (two safeties) in the past three games.
4. Eden Prairie (4-1): Vintage Eagles in Friday's 20-0 shutout of Minnetonka. They took an early lead, shut down the Skippers offense and milked the clock after halftime.
5. East Ridge (4-1): Forget about Dominik London for a while. While London sat with an injured ankle, the Raptors defense came up big in a 21-7 victory over previously undefeated Cretin-Derham Hall.
6. Burnsville (4-1): The loss of QB Andrew Hanson made no difference to the Blaze, who turned to do-everything talents Jackson Martens and Steph Olson Jr. to lead a 31-23 victory over Farmington.
7. Cretin-Derham Hall (4-1): Not going to give up on the Raiders, but they'll need to clean up the mistakes made in Friday's loss to East Ridge to make a postseason run.
8. Elk River (Class 5A, 5-0): Put no stock in the 21 points the Elks gave up to Buffalo. They led 49-7 late in the first half and rushed for 544 yards.
9. Champlin Park (4-1): Where to rank the Rebels? They're winning games, which is what matters, but their total margin of victory is just 15 points.
10. Minnetonka (4-1): The offense may not have scored against Eden Prairie, but the defense, as it has all season, came up big, holding the Eagles to three scores.
Others worth watching: Blaine, Maple Grove, Prior Lake, Mahtomedi (5A), Spring Lake Park (5A), Chanhassen (5A), Cooper (5A), SMB (5A).