The Prior Lake girls tennis team is off to a tough start in the South Suburban Conference.
The Lakers dropped to 1-4 in league play Sept. 14 with a 4-3 loss to No. 8-ranked Burnsville. All three of Prior Lake's wins were in three sets.
The Lakers (3-6 overall) have a young group this fall with just three seniors in their top 12, Lisa Ginzburg, Ashley Farley and Madeline Westerholm.
Prior Lake has gone 5-4 in the SSC the last two seasons. The Lakers dominated league play from 2011 to 2018, winning seven of eight conference titles in that span with a combined league record of 70-1.
In the loss to Burnsville, sophomore Tianna Houske earned a three-set win at No. 1 singles for the Lakers (1-6, 7-6, 6-0). Junior Alyssa Lam also earned a three-set victory at No. 2 (6-2, 1-6, 6-2).
Prior Lake's other win came at No. 3 doubles where sophomore Shelby Gambucci and ninth-grader Haven Fisher won in three sets (4-6, 6-2, 6-4).
The Lakers have to face No. 9 Lakeville South in league play Sept. 23. A loss there and the program would have its first losing record in conference play since 2009.
Prior Lake will end the regular season Sept. 28 at home to Eagan in SSC action. The Section 2AA team tournament starts Oct. 5.
Top-ranked Minnetonka will again be the favorite in section. The Skippers have won 10 of last 12 Section 2AA crowns.
Minnetonka is the only ranked team in the section. Prior Lake is 2-1 against section squads, beating Jordan and losing to both Shakopee and Chanhassen.
In 2019, Prior Lake lost to Minnetonka in the Section 2AA semifinals. It was the first time in nine seasons the Lakers were not playing in a section title match.
The Lakers were the Section 3AA runner-up in 2011, before winning three straight Section 3AA crowns from 2012 to 2014. Prior Lake was moved to Section 2AA in 2015 where the team won titles that season and in 2016.
Prior Lake lost to Minnetonka in the section title match in both 2017 and 2018.