The Prior Lake boys tennis team had two chances to make the state field in doubles action May 28.

But instead, the Lakers fell short twice in Section 2AA play at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Prior Lake had two teams in the semifinals and both of them lost.

Senior Max Hall and ninth-grader Wyatt Crowell dropped a three-set match to Shakopee's Tharun Inturi and Alex Kortgard (6-3, 2-6, 6-2). Seniors Jake Welke and Jaydon Olson were in the other semifinal for Prior Lake and fell to Orono's Caden Pfeiffer and Matias Maule (7-5, 6-2).

Hall and Crowell ended up taking third, beating their teammates in three sets (6-4, 3-6, 6-1). However, there was no true-second match for Hall and Crowell since the Shakopee team lost to the Orono squad in the title match.

Hall and Olson were doubles partners the last two years at sections and they were third both times. They lost twice in the true-second match in three sets in back-to-back seasons.

Hall and Crowell won in straight sets in both of their matches in the first round May 25, winning over teams from Hutchinson (6-2, 6-1) and Mankato East (6-0, 6-1).

Olson and Welke also won their first two matches, rolling in straight stets over a team from Mankato West (6-2, 6-2) and earning a three-set victory over a team from Hutchinson (6-3, 3-6, 6-0).

Meanwhile, in singles, senior Michael Johnson made it to the semifinals for the Lakers. He lost to top-seeded Karthik Papisett of Orono in straight sets (6-0, 6-0). Johnson lost in the third-place match to Mark Williams of Mankato East (6-0, 6-2).

In the first round May 25, Johnson won in straight sets in both of his matches (6-0, 6-0 and 6-4, 6-2, respectively) to reach the semifinals.

Overall, Prior Lake had another strong season on the court. The team earned its fourth straight winning season, finishing with a 9-7 overall record (5-4 in the South Suburban Conference).

Prior Lake has lost in the section semifinals the last four seasons, including 4-3 to Eden Prairie this spring. Orono beat Eden Prairie for the title.

When PJ Priest took over the Lakers’ program at the start of the 2011 season, it had just one winning season since 1994. It had been held to three or fewer wins eight times since 2000.

The Lakers will have to replace nine seniors next year, including Riley Rose, Mathew Riley, Carter Mong, Matthew Baer and Cooper Danielson. So Priest will have to find some talent at the lower levels next spring to have a fifth straight winning season.

Crowell will likely take over as the team's No. 1 singles player. He played in the No. 2 spot most of the spring.

This year's Class AA state team tournament is June 4-5, while the singles and doubles tournaments are the next two days. The venue for both is the Baseline Tennis Center in Minneapolis.

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.


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