Girls Tennis Individual State Championships, 2022
Posted: Friday, October 28, 2022 - 4:57 PM
Minnetonka senior Sarah Shahbaz wasn’t favored to repeat as the Class AA girls tennis champion when the 2022 Minnesota State High School League’s Girls Tennis State Tournament took place this week. Instead, that distinction went to her teammate, senior, Kelsey Phillips, who earned the tag after recording a victory over Shahbaz in the Section 2AA championships to earn state tournament berths.
To the surprise of no one, they met again for the Class AA crown.
Shahbaz reversed that result with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Phillips on Friday, Oct. 28 at the Baseline Tennis Center on the University of Minnesota to complete her final prep season with her second consecutive big-school state championship. It also ended a stellar prep career filled with blue-ribboned gold medals. During her career, she captured five state championships: two team titles, two singles crowns and one doubles championship.
Throughout, Shahbaz, who hugs the baseline with her controlled-style of play was able to overcome the power-game of Phillips.
Shahbaz advanced to the championship match for the second consecutive season with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Eagan’s Cassandra Li. In the upper bracket, Phillips had a 7-6 (2), 6-2 victory over Elk River’s Ava Nelson. Li bounced back in racing to a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Nelson for the third-place medal.
In Class AA doubles, Rochester Mayo’s Claire Loftus, and sister, Aoife, defeated Blake’s Allyson Jay and Nana Vang, 6-2, 6-0 in the championship match.
Breck junior Isabelle Einess won the Class A singles championship with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Ryann Witter of Rochester Lourdes at the Reed-Sweet Family Tennis Center in south Minneapolis. In 2021, Einess was the top seed in the Class A field when she played for Minnehaha Academy, but lost to then-teammate, Ancele Dolensek, in the final.
Einess advanced to the final with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Staples-Motley’s Lauren Rutten. In the other semifinal, Witter had a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Pine City’s Ella Sell. Rutten then had a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Sell for the third-place medal.
In the Class A doubles competition, Minnehaha Academy’s Greta Johnson teamed with Chloe Alley to post a 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 victory over Elyse Palen and Caroline Daly of Rochester Lourdes.