The Rosemount Irish girls' tennis team had no trouble with St. Paul Highland Park last Wednesday afternoon and won 6-1 to advance out of the first round. The Irish then upset No. 3-seeded Simley 4-3 on Saturday after their match was rained out on Friday. The win over the Spartans came down to the last few matches. With the win, they advance to the semifinals on Wednesday at the Lifetime Fitness in Lakeville. They will face the winner of No. 2 Woodbury and No. 10 Visitation, who play on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Whoever wins the semifinal match would then face the winner of No. 1 Eagan and No. 5 East Ridge on Thursday, Oct. 11 at Lifetime Fitness.
St. Paul Highland Park
Senior Livia Leary won No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-1 and sophomore Sonya Ramesh swept No. 2 singles 6-0, 6-0. Senior Josie McCann took No. 3 singles 6-0, 6-1 and fellow senior Rachel Kearns also won 6-0, 6-1 in No. 4 singles.
Seniors Megan Larson and Lillie Rapp cruised in No. 1 doubles 6-0, 6-3 and senior Julia Vitale and sophomore Hallie McCann took No. 2 doubles 6-2, 6-4. Rosemount's lone loss came at No. 3 doubles where sophomore Annabelle Kocer and senior Sidney Biebel fell in a very close match 6-7(4-7), 6-1, 10-12.
Rosemount upset No. 3 seed Simley 4-3 this past Saturday after the match was initially rained out on Friday. It came down to the last two matches-Ramesh in No. 2 singles that went three sets, and Larson and Rapp in No. 1 doubles-as the Irish led 3-2 with those two remaining.
"Sonya Ramesh, she was one of the big heroes of the day," head coach Matt Knutson said. "She lost the first set and the other girl really was playing very well. Sonya picked out some of the things that she does really well for her strengths and really just mentally played a great match. She fought back in the second set, faced a lot of adversity through that match, and was able to pull through in the third set."
Ramesh's win put Rosemount up 4-2 with No. 1 doubles still going and clinched the win for the Irish. Larson and Rapp would end up falling in three sets to make it final.
They swept all four singles matches-Leary won 6-2, 6-1 at No. 1, Ramesh won 1-6, 6-4, 6-2; Josie McCann took No. 3 singles 6-4, 6-4 and Kearns was victorious at No. 4 singles 6-0, 6-4. Larson and Rapp fell 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 4-6 while Hallie McCann and Julia Vitale lost in No. 2 doubles 6-2, 6-1. Biebel and Kocer lost No. 3 doubles 6-4, 6-2.
Knutson said that after a tough regular season, the seniors on the team have been anxious to win and now it's all coming together.
"I'm really excited for the team," he said. "We have a lot of seniors on this varsity and they're excited to be playing, just the improvement over the season and to keep playing. It's been fun to be a part of."
He also said that an integral part of how the Irish finished their regular season and their sections run so far has to do with the unconditional support his team offers each other.
"I was really proud of the team as a whole, as I said we have a lot of experience with the seniors on our team, and the way that they've begun to just rally around each other and support each other from the very first point of the match through the end, there is so much positive support among the team cheering on their teammates," Knutson said. "That's just the environment and culture that I've appreciated about this team."