Having returned seven of its top-10 players from last year, this year’s Eden Prairie High School girls tennis team is relatively settled.
“We’re more set this year than last,” said Eden Prairie coach Alexa Horoshak.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be moving parts.
“We used two different lineups today,” said Horoshak, after playing her team’s first two matches of the season. “We lost a close 4-3 match to Lakeville North and beat Owatonna 6-1.”
The top of both lineups featured ninth-graders, which bodes well for the future.
The one constant has been Niyathi Bhupatiraju, who played No. 1 singles in both matches.
She beat her Lakeville North opponent 6-2, 6-0, her Owatonna opponent 6-2, 6-2.
Annika Anderson and Sophia Paul shared No. 2 singles duties.
Thuy-yen Tran played No. 3 singles in both matches; Katelyn Daravingas and Karalyn Trebilcock took turns at No. 4 singles.
Co-captain Madison Magnani will most likely play No. 1 doubles. On Monday, she partnered with Anderson in a win over Lakeville North and Paul in a win over Owatonna.
Ava Neuman, Haley Magnani and Sravanti Vadrevu flipped between Nos. 2 and 3 doubles.
Horoshak calls her doubles lineup a work in progress.
“A lot of players don’t play doubles during the off season,” she said, “and the ones that do, might have a club partner who doesn’t go to the same high school.”
Question: What does one look for when settling on a doubles team?
“While chemistry plays a role,” said the coach, “it’s more about style. We want someone who can set the ball up and someone who can finish.”
Ideally, she’ll have one player playing at the net and the other hitting ground strokes from the baseline.
“You’re not going to win a doubles match with two players playing back.” said Horoshak.
“Down the middle solves the riddle,” laughs the coach.
Edina and Minnetonka are favored to compete for a Lake Conference title.
Edina is favored to win Section 6AA, Minnetonka Section 2AA
When asked about Eden Prairie goals, Horoshak says her team’s goals are no different than any other team.
“We want to win our section and get to the state tournament,” she said. “If that doesn’t happen from the team side, we hope to get some individual players through the section tournament.”
Eden Prairie’s chances?
“The girls are competitors,” said Horoshak. “They’ve got a lot of spunk.”