Mounds View tennis in similar spot again

The lineup for the Edina Invitational boys tennis tournament is always packed with state-tournament contenders. The team that emerges the champion from the event often finds itself launched to the top of the state rankings if it isn't already there.

Mounds View found itself in that position a year ago. The Mustangs followed up the Edina tournament win by clinching the Suburban East Conference title and the Section 5AA championship and entered the state tournament as the No. 1 seed. The state tournament didn't go as planned, however, because East Ridge surprised the Mustangs in the quarterfinals.

This year, Mounds View once again won the Edina event and is ranked No. 1 heading into the post-season. Yet head coach Mike Cartwright isn't counting his chickens before they hatch.

"One thing at a time," Cartwright said last week. "I've been around long enough that I know that I'm not going to get ahead of the schedule."

Mounds View entered its final match of the regular season with an overall record of 16-1 and had already claimed yet another conference title. Since the formation of the Suburban East Conference, Mounds View has won every boys tennis title and has yet to lose a conference match.

A 7-0 win over White Bear Lake on May 5 secured at least a tie for the conference crown and another 7-0 win, this time against Cretin-Derham Hall on May 8, gave the Mustangs the title outright.

Mounds View's only dual-match loss this season came against defending Class AA state champion Wayzata on April 7. Mounds View closed out the regular season against Class A power Blake on Monday, past the deadline for this edition of the Bulletin.

Blake was one of the teams Mounds View took down en route to the Edina championship. The Mustangs blanked Minneapolis Washburn 7-0 in the quarterfinals, beat Blake 4-3 in the semifinals and edged East Ridge 4-3 in the championship match.

"Those were three really tough matches and we beat three very good teams," Cartwright said. "The hardest part, not only with the talent of the teams, is that it was the third match of the day. That's a long day. Not even the state tournament is that much of a grind."

With the regular season complete, Mounds View now turns its attention to the post-season, which also promises to be tough. The Mustangs are the likely No. 1 seed, but Maple Grove and Centennial are also in the section and could prove to tough beats.

Centennial has lost just once and that was to Elk River, which is the Northwest Suburban Conference champion. Maple Grove has three losses — two to Wayzata and one to Elk River.

Mounds View beat Maple Grove in the Section 5AA final last year after losing to the Crimson in the previous two section title matches. Cartwright said that match was emotional and may have led to a letdown in the first round of the state tournament.

"The guys were really fired up for that match and we hope to play with that emotion and intensity in a couple of weeks," Cartwright said.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.
 

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