State Girls Tennis: Rochester Mayo sweeps Class AA, Breck’s Einess perfect in Class A
In Class AA at the Baseline Tennis Center on the University of Minnesota campus, Rochester Mayo completed a season, and state tournament, filled with dominance by capturing both the singles and doubles tennis championships. Those are added to the school’s first-ever big-school crown claimed on Tuesday.
Junior Claire Loftus, the No. 2 seed in the Class AA singles tournament, recorded a 7-5, 6-0 victory over top-seeded Cassandra Li, an Eagan sophomore. Loftus advanced to the championship match with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over No. 3 Ava Nelson of Elk River, a senior, earlier in the day. In the upper bracket, Li had a 6-0, 6-2 victory over No. 5 Aoife Loftus, a Rochester Mayo ninth-grader.
***Click the video box above to watch highlights of Mayo’s victories and an interview with Class AA Girls Individual State Champion Claire Loftus***
Teammates Keely Ryder, a junior, and ninth-grader Malea Diehn, the top seed, captured the doubles championship with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Lakeville North’s Keira Kelly, a junior, and senior Addy Bowlby in the title match. Kelly and Bowlby were unseeded to begin the state tournament.
It is the second consecutive year that Rochester Mayo has won the doubles crown. In 2022, Claire and Aoife Loftus combined to win the championship. Claire’s individual championship this season is the first for a Rochester Mayo participant since Caitlin Loprinzi in 2003.
Moments after her high school career had just concluded with a second consecutive Class A Girls Tennis singles championship, Breck senior Isabelle Einess held off on celebrating, instead, choosing to go back in time. As a sophomore in 2021, Einess was the runner-up to Minnehaha Academy’s Ancele Dolonsek in a dramatic and tense Class A singles championship match that went three sets.
“When I think of that, it really was a springboard to where I am today,” Einess said on Friday, Oct. 27 at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis. “I didn’t like that I lost, I didn’t like how I lost and I didn’t like my reaction to losing. It motivated me to look inward, to work on my game and myself.”
Einess hasn’t lost since, a run that concluded with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Osakis sophomore Leah Maddock in a championship match that took 39 minutes. Using a powerful all-around game that featured baseline precision while sprinkling in finesse shots and timed surges to the net, Einess completed her state tournament run while not losing a game. She earned a berth in the singles championship match for the third consecutive season with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over No. 4 seed Casey Cronin of Holy Family Catholic in the semifinals earlier in the day.
“I don’t go into a match concerned about dropping a game or a set,” said Einess, who will play collegiately at Seton Hall. “If I focus properly on my preparation and execution, things should turn out OK.”
Einess is the only Breck student-participant to win a Girls Tennis singles championship.
“I hope I’m remembered as being a hard worker, and through tennis, grew as a player and person,” she said.
Two courts away, Blake sisters Nana and Fatemeh Vang captured the doubles championship with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over the defending champions from Minnehaha Academy, senior Greta Johnson and ninth-grader Chloe Alley. Two days earlier, Nana, a senior, and Fatemeh, a ninth-grader, played key roles in Blake’s Class A team championship.
“This has been an incredible season and tournament,” Nana said. “It feels great not only to win with my sister, but also to have the support of my teammates.”
Said Fatemeh: “We’ve been talking about this for a long time. It’s like a dream come true.”