Steve Paulsen dug through some drawers on Tuesday evening, looking for an item of clothing that he wears only one day a year. It’s an old green sweatshirt.
“I found it last night about 9 o’clock,” he said Wednesday during the Class 2A girls state tennis tournament at the University of Minnesota Baseline Tennis Center. Paulsen is the coach at Edina High School, and Wednesday marked the 20th year in a row that he wore the sweatshirt on the second day of team competition.
It was part custom, part good-luck charm. Edina’s streak of 19 consecutive team state championships ended Wednesday when the top-seeded Hornets lost to fifth-seeded Mahtomedi 4-3 in the semifinals. Edina finished the tournament with a victory, defeating second-seeded St. Cloud Tech 4-3 in the third-place match. Mahtomedi took home the championship with a 5-2 victory over Eagan.
None of the Hornets were alive when the streak began in 1997. The 19-year streak is the nation’s all-time record for girls tennis; Edina also holds the No. 2 spot on the national list with a streak of 15 consecutive titles from 1978 to 1992. The Hornets own 34 state titles, second nationally to Punahou, Hawaii, with 42.
“Every match out there, whether we win or lose – and it sounds cliché – but we go out there, try to lay it on the line and be prepared both mentally and physically,” Paulsen said. “And then accept the outcome, as hard as that is sometimes. And it’s obviously hard.”
Edina has a young lineup, with two seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and three ninth-graders competing against Mahtomedi. The Hornets got wins from Sophie Reddy at No. 1 singles, Nicole Copeland at No. 2 singles and Isabelle Ouyang and Sophie Slattery at No. 1 doubles. Mahtomedi’s semifinal winners were Maggie Riermann at No. 3 singles, Anna Stutz at No. 4 singles, Emily Fraser and Lauren Splett at No. 2 doubles and Alexi Harrod and Sarah Hoffman at No. 3 doubles.
“They were obviously disappointed,” Paulsen said. “That’s a lot of pressure. But we always preach, ‘Lay it on the line and see what happens.’ And they did.
“We’ve got three ninth-graders and a couple 10th-graders. Hopefully we can start another streak next year.”
That very well could happen. But the sweatshirt? It has been retired.Girls State Tennis Tournament
Championship/ Mahtomedi 5, Eagan 2
Third place/ Edina 4, St. Cloud Tech 3
Fifth place/ Prior Lake 6, Duluth East 1Class 1A
Championship/ Blake 6, Rochester Lourdes 1
Third place/ Virginia 4, Foley 3
Fifth place/ Holy Family 4, Roseau 3State Soccer Tournament Recap/Wednesday’s Games
Class 2A girls quarterfinals at Farmington
--Rosemount 2, Minnetonka 1 (OT)
--Minneapolis Washburn 2, St. Michael-Albertville 1Class 1A boys quarterfinals at St. Cloud State
--Mankato West 2, Bemidji 1 (shootout)
--Northfield 2, Willmar 1 (shootout)Class 1A boys quarterfinals at Chisago Lakes
--Blake 3, Duluth Denfeld 1
--St. Thomas Academy 5, St. Paul Como Park 0Class 2A boys quarterfinals at Benilde-St. Margaret’s
--Andover 2, Moorhead 0
--Stillwater 6, Mounds View 1
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 146
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