Mounds View girls' tennis players Tacy Haws-Lay and Melanie Yates made their names by taking second in the 2007 Class 2A state doubles tournament as eighth-graders.

They remained friends but chose different paths on the court at tournament time. Haws-Lay played doubles at state with two different partners while Yates competed in three consecutive singles draws. Now seniors this season, they are once again working in tandem as the Mustangs' co-captains.

"They're not just players now -- they're leaders," coach Mike Cartwright said. "And that comes with extra responsibilities."

Haws-Lay and Yates accept their expanded roles as part of maintaining the program's place among the state's elite. They have already helped the Mustangs achieve two runner-up finishes, a consolation title and a fourth-place finish.

Both play the majority of the season in the singles positions. Cartwright called Yates "a real power player" who "takes the match to her opponent." Meanwhile, Haws-Lay is "more of a finesse player" who "tends to hang out at the baseline a little more and wait for opportunities."

Those contrasting styles, which made them a strong doubles tandem, are making them effective captains. Haws-Lay and Yates spoke with Star Tribune reporter David La Vaque about working together on and off the court.

Q Going back in time, what do you remember about that great doubles run in eighth grade?

Yates We just had fun with it. We were eighth-graders and we played an Edina team in the first round so we didn't expect to do anything. But Tacy was really consistent, and that helped my aggressive game.

Haws-Lay That was definitely a good starting point [to my varsity career] because I then set goals for the next seasons.

Q What did the two of you think about being voted captains by your teammates?

Yates Immediately when we found out we were going to be captains, we started talking about what we wanted to do for the team and how we wanted to portray our leadership.

Haws-Lay We definitely had an idea of what we wanted because we've been waiting for this. We want to get the ball rolling.

Q What will your joint leadership style look like?

Yates We wanted practices to start on time or early. We wanted people to understand we expect to do well. Not that we expect them to win but that we expect them to try hard and fight for their teammates.

Haws-Lay Our main concern was getting everyone to be together and become a close-knit, family-type team.

Q So, Melanie, does your aggressive playing style carry over to how you approach being a captain?

Yates I think so.

Q So are you the captain out there screaming at everyone?

Yates Sometimes [laughs]. You've got to get them moving once in a while.

Q Last season, Tacy, you were second in the state in doubles and the team finished second. Is the goal for you and the team to find a way to take that last step?

Haws-Lay That's exactly it. We've gotten there so we know we can get there again. But we're really going to need to come together and we all need to want it. We need to make that extra effort because we know we can do it.

David La Vaque • 612-673-7574