Tianna Houske

Junior Tianna Houske played No. 1 singles for Prior Lake this fall, helping the team to nine wins, including a 5-4 mark in the South Suburban Conference.

Can the Prior Lake girls tennis team get back to being dominant like it was in an eight-year stretch from 2011 to 2018?

The Lakers had a 9-7 overall record this fall, including a 5-4 mark in the South Suburban Conference. Prior Lake went 2-1 in Section 2AA play, finishing a win short of the title match.

Eden Prairie beat the Lakers 4-3 in the semifinals.

The section singles and doubles tournament followed team play and Prior Lake won eight of 13 matches. Sophomore Tianna Houske and senior Ashley Farley made it all the way to the semifinals in doubles and ended up fourth.

Top-ranked Minnetonka won the section team title for the 11th time in 13 seasons. In 2019, Prior Lake lost to Minnetonka in the Section 2AA semifinals. It was the first time in nine seasons the Lakers were not playing in a section title match.

The Lakers have lost in the semifinals the last three years.

Prior Lake was the Section 3AA runner-up in 2011, before winning three straight Section 3AA crowns from 2012 to 2014. Prior Lake was moved to Section 2AA in 2015 where the team won the title that season and in 2016.

Prior Lake lost to Minnetonka in the section title match in both 2017 and 2018.

In SSC play, the Lakers dominated from 2011 to 2018, winning seven of eight conference titles in that span with a combined league record of 70-1. The team is 15-12 over the last three years in the SSC play.

So how do the Lakers get back to where they are again competing for SSC and section crowns? Could it be next year?

Prior Lake will graduate just three seniors — Farley, Liza Ginzburg and Madeline Westerholm — so there will be some talent back next fall.

Houske has played No. 1 singles for Prior Lake the last two years. Junior Alyssa Lam will also be back near the top of the singles lineup.

Sophomores Rose Netz, Olivia Newman, Mia Ngo, Shelby Gambucci, ninth-graders Haven Fisher and Tory Cvancara and eighth-grader Chloe Soundara will also see their varsity roles expand next year.

Meanwhile, in section individual play, Houske and Farley won their first three matches. They beat Cora Wulf and Makalya Haugen of Jordan in the first round (6-1, 6-3), and then knocked off Lillian Schmidt and McKenna Schreiber of Mankato West (6-1, 6-1) and Eden Knudson and Leah Matzner of Marshall (6-4, 6-0).

In the semifinals, Houske and Farley fell to Maddie Prondzinski and Emilja Medzuikaite of Minnetonka (6-2, 6-0), before losing to Lauren Douglas and Payton Douglas of Mankato West (6-2, 6-1) in the third-place match.

Lam went 2-1 in singles play, while Ginzburg was 1-1. Westerholm and Netz teamed up in doubles and finished 1-1.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.