The Prior Lake girls team pulled off a pair of close wins to open the season, but then fell in its first South Suburban Conference match.
The Lakers faced Princeton and St. Michael-Albertville in a triangular match Aug. 21 at Bethel College in St. Paul and won both by 4-3 margins.
But the next day, Prior Lake lost by the same score to Lakeville North in league action. It's only the second SSC loss for the Lakers since 2011. The program has won seven of the last eight conference crowns.
Prior Lake has just two seniors in its top 12 — Nic Keller and Gabby Betzold — so there could be some bumps in the road in the early season. Coach PJ Priest said even the two wins were a bit of a struggle.
“It was a rough start, but good to get the [team] in some matches being so young,” Priest said. "We will bounce back. We should have won [against Lakeville North], but it’s early and we will only get better."
The Lakers have league home matches versus Eagan Aug. 27 and Shakopee Aug. 29. Between those, Prior Lake plays at Eden Prairie Aug. 28 in a battle of Section 2AA foes. All three matches start at 4 p.m.
In the win over Princeton, the Lakers won three of four matches in singles. Eighth-grader Tianna Houske won the No. 2 spot (6-2, 6-2), while junior Kelly Wu cruised at No. 3 (6-2, 6-2) and junior Katelyn Lam rolled at No. 4 (6-0, 6-2).
In doubles, eighth-grader Rose Netz and junior Grace Mahowald won at the No. 2 spot for Prior Lake (6-0, 6-4).
Against St. Michael-Albertville, the Lakers won two of three matches and split the four in singles.
Lam earned a straight-set win at No. 3 singles (6-1, 6-1), while sophomore Liza Ginzburg won at the No. 4 spot (6-1, 6-3).
In doubles, winning for Prior Lake were Houske and eighth-grader Ella Joesting at the top spot (6-1, 6-2) and ninth-grader Alyssa Lam and Mahowald at No. 3 (6-2, 6-3).
In the loss to Lakeville North, Keller won at No. 1 singles (6-1, 6-2), while Wu won at No. 2 (6-2, 7-6) and Katelyn Lam rolled at No. 3 (6-2, 6-3).
Prior Lake lost two doubles matches in three sets. Netz and junior Sydney Danielson fell at the No. 2 spot (3-6, 6-3, 6-3) and Alyssa Lam and Mahowald lost at No. 3 (7-6, 5-7, 6-0).