Finn sisters qualify for state
BY DAVID PEDERSEN
The consolation taken by Delano tennis players by placing second to Minnetonka in the Section 2AA tournament last week was the fact the team reached its goal.
Since being moved from Class A to AA a few years ago, Delano has had to compete against some of the top tennis powers in the state as one of the smallest schools in the field.
“Minnetonka is too good, having depth and ability,” said coach Kim Finn about the 6-1 Skipper victory. “Our goal was to win a seventh straight conference title and make it to the section final and we did. Nobody got smoked off the court against Minnetonka and we can be proud of our accomplishments.”
Next came the section individual tournament where another goal was achieved when sisters Laura and Cassy Finn qualified to the state tournament starting Thursday, Oct. 18 at the University of Minnesota.
Laura Finn has been the No. 1 singles player the past three years, but entered the individual tourney in doubles. She made it to state as a sophomore, but not last year when teaming with her sister Cassy.
Back for a second try, Laura and Cassy defeated Mankato West in a three-set tie breaker in the semifinals, assuring a trip to state since the top two doubles teams advance.
In the finals, the Finn sisters were surprised to learn that Bri Smith from Minnetonka had decided to play doubles instead of testing her No. 10 state singles ranking.
Delano won the first set 6-4, lost the second by the same score and lost the tie-breaker 7-5. The sisters will take a No. 2 seed to state, meaning they must open against a top seed from a different section.
“The girls battled to the end,” said their coach and mother. “That was good tennis. They played an unbelievable match.”
Delano advanced as a team against top north bracket seed Minnetonka by defeating Mankato West, the top south bracket seed, 5-2 in the semifinals.
The Tigers came out on top despite playing without one of its top players in Katie Vatnsdal, who developed a viral throat infection two days before the team matches and was unable to play.
Coach Finn moved sophomore Tayler Hedtke from No. 3 doubles to second doubles to play with senior Allison Warne. The pair produced a two-set victory.
“We moved senior Emily Peterson into the third doubles spot with junior Alex Schreyer,” said Finn. “Emily played doubles last year and we knew she could handle the pressure.”
Schreyer and Peterson won in three sets against Mankato West. Cassy Finn and senior Allison Sandlass lost a close three set match at No. 1 doubles.
The top three Tiger singles players produced victories, included Laura Finn, senior Kristin Hedtke and senior Laura Parsons. The other loss was by eighth-grader Katie Schleif at No. 4 singles.
“We didn’t know what Mankato West had other than they were ranked one spot below us all year,” adds coach Finn about how Delano finished ranked No. 7 and MW was eighth. “Our girls came out strong like we always do in the first set.”
Against Minnetonka, the only win was by Laura Finn in an upset over Bri Smith at No. 1 singles. Finn won 6-2, lost 6-0 and won the tie breaker set 10-5.
Delano will lose eight players to graduation. The leaders will be Cassy Finn, Schleif, Tayler Hedtke and Schreyer.
“We have a lot of young girls who play the sport 12 months out of the year,” notes coach Finn. “They will be ready and we should be a league title contender again. We have won 46 matches in a row in the conference and are hoping to reach the 50 mark.”