The Burnsville boys tennis team is glad to be back on the court this spring.
The 2020 season was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic and those seniors were denied a chance to play their final high school season.
"We are excited to be back playing high school tennis," Blaze coach Ryan Haddorff said. "Burnsville was senior heavy in 2020, so most of our 2021 team lacks varsity experience. Our goal is to keep improving and to be a very tough team come playoff time."
It's been a rough start to the spring for the Blaze. The team dropped its first nine matches, including its first four in the South Suburban Conference.
But Burnsville was able to get a win April 30 beating Apple Valley 6-1 in league play, sweeping all four singles matches.
Junior Tyler Haddorff won at the top spot (6-0, 6-0), while sophomore Henry Peterson rolled at No. 2 (6-0, 6-0). Senior Michael Angarak was victorious at No. 3 (6-0, 6-1) and ninth-grader Henry Peterson won in three sets at No. 4.
In doubles, juniors Gavin Michalek and Henry McCormick won at the No. 1 spot (6-1, 6-4) for Burnsville, while juniors Aaden Spencer and Owen Cadwell cruised at No. 2 (6-1, 6-4).
Juniors Jay Anderson and Shrey Pthini are also part of the varsity mix this spring for Burnsville.
Only Haddorff, McCormick, Michalek and Peterson are back from the 2019 team. Haddorff returns to his No. 1 single spot, while the other three have had to grow up fast at the varsity level.
"We have played a tough schedule and we have had a steep learning curve early in the season," Ryan Haddorff said. "The boys have great attitudes, work hard in practice, and I'm confident the positive match results will follow."
Back in 2019, the Blaze had a 7-11 overall record, 3-6 in the SSC. Haddorff nearly made state in doubles with then-senior Sam Bardwell, but the two ended up third in Section 6AA.
The top-two finishers make the state field.
This year's Class AA state tennis tournament starts June 9 and will finish June 14-15 at a site still to be determined. Section 6AA play is scheduled to start May 24 with the team tourney, followed by singles and doubles play.
Section 6AA is not an easy field to get through with Edina and Blake leading the way, along with strong programs like Benide-St. Margaret's, Hopkins and Minneapolis Washburn.
Burnsville is scheduled to end the regular season May 18 at Lakeville South.