Coming off its best season ever, the Jordan girls tennis team has a new challenge in front of them.
The Jaguars had a perfect regular season last season as they went 20-0 and won the Minnesota River Conference championship. They continued with that success by qualifying for the Class A state tournament for the first time and they also qualified its first ever singles player to the state tournament.
They went 0-2 as a team at the state tournament but not before they put a scare into both teams they played.
But that was 2018 and in 2019 the Jaguars have a different challenge ahead of them as they will now compete at the Class 2A level after the Minnesota State High School League reclassified the Jaguars and moved them up a class.
“We are going into uncharted territory,” head coach Jill Bailey said. “At the end of the day it’s about competing and wanting to win and that’s what we have to do whether we are in Class A or AA.”
Jordan is still competing in the Minnesota River Conference for one more year but when it comes time for the playoffs they will be in Class 2A, Section 2 along with school such as Chanhassen, Chaska, Eden Prairie, Hutchinson, Mankato East, Mankato West, Marshall, Minnetonka, Mound Westonka, New Prague, New Ulm, Orono, Prior Lake, Shakopee, St. Peter, and Worthington.
That section is broken up into subsections and Jordan is in the south subsection along with Hutchinson, Mankato East and West, Marshall, New Prague, and New Ulm.
“We are excited for the challenge.,” Bailey said. “Obviously, we need to reset our goals but one goal is to finish strong in the conference. A strong goal for the team is looking to play in the final day of section play so we can play against the North subsection.”
There probably is never an ideal time to make the transition up in class but this may be it for the Jaguars as they return a very deep and talented team from last year.
Bailey said they return 10 players that was on the state tournament roster last year including senior Emily Henderson, who qualified for the state singles tournament last season.
“It’s nice that we can rely on the experience and leadership,” Bailey said. “They come from success and want more.”
Henderson will lead the Jaguars from the No. 1 singles spot and Bailey said she has only gotten better in the off season.
“She knows what she wants when she steps out on the court,” Bailey said. “She has matured physically and mentally and so her shots are stronger, her court sense is better, and she is setting up points better. She has just gone to the next level in her game.”
Other strong tennis players returning that will contribute this season are Madeline Jarebek, Morgan Busse, Arianna Kraus, Emily Randolph, Ella Bounds, and Lydia Cook.
The Jaguars begin the new season on Saturday as they open up in Delano with a matches against Delano, Bloomington Jefferson and Minneapolis South.