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Area Female Athlete: S-M Cardinal tennis player dominating opposition

Izabella Edin Year: Senior School: Staples-Motley Sport: Tennis Position: No. 1 singles Highlights: Won the Mid-State Conference singles title She's back. After a year of playing United States Tennis Association tournaments, Izabella Edin returne...

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Izabella Edin

Year: Senior

School: Staples-Motley

Sport: Tennis

Position: No. 1 singles

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Highlights: Won the Mid-State Conference singles title

She's back.

After a year of playing United States Tennis Association tournaments, Izabella Edin returned to the Staples-Motley Cardinals' girls tennis team where she is owning No. 1 singles competition this season.

Edin is 20-0 and ranked No. 2 in the Class 1A individual poll. It's one spot up from where she started the season.

But Edin isn't just winning. She is dominating opponents.

Edin swept through the Mid-State Conference championship Sept. 17 to secure the No. 1 singles title as well as help the Cardinals tie Pequot Lakes for the team title.

She didn't drop a game to go 2-0 at the Staples-Motley triangular against Wadena-Deer Creek and Crosby-Ironton Tuesday.

"She's very determined and she knows what kind of shots to do on the court and where to place the ball," said S-M head coach Kayla Janson. "She sets up the point very well and finishes at the net a lot of the time. She moves very well. Her footwork is great."

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Janson said Edin's ability to adjust to different opponents and adapt different strategies quickly is her biggest improvement from when she was a sophomore and last played for the Cardinals.

Not that those areas were lacking, which she proved during the 2014 Class 1A individual state tournament. Edin fell to eventual state champion Danielle Gannon in the semifinals before knocking off then-junior Grace Sperr of Holy Family Catholic to claim third place in the singles bracket.

Edin said she missed being a part of a team, however.

"I really wanted to spend time with the girls again because I really miss that atmosphere of being on a team and being a part of something that is bigger than myself," she said. "It's fun to be back and it's fun to hang out with them. That was what made the decision easier. All the girls are literally the sweetest people I know."

Instead of playing high school tennis last year, Edin took those two months to travel to St. Cloud and train and then concentrate on USTA tournaments. But that wasn't the only factor. Last year, Edin was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

"I wanted to take a break from the stress of having to handle that on court during competitions," Edin said. "So we took a break and decided to just train for a couple of months."

Despite the absence, the Cardinals welcomed Edin back and she's been a great leader and help to the rest of the players, said Janson. And while the competition may not be what she faced last year, Edin still finds ways to improve her game.

"It's a combination of a lot of things, but mostly it's self-motivation from me," said Edin. "I love to see the improvement every time I step onto the court. It just makes it easier if I see that improvement every time I keep stepping on the court as much as I do.

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"And, I love the sport so much it's hard for me to not try my best every time I play because I love it so much. It's also being on the team and them wanting me to compete at my highest level so I can give them confidence and give us a little extra boost."

Edin said she hopes that boost leads to a state title, but she knows there is tough competition ahead.

"We'll have to see how it shakes out, but I'm just happy to be back and competing on the team with the girls," she said.

Other notable performances:

Cross country: Kira Sweeney, Staples-Motley, won the Jim Machachek Invite in 18:45.7.

Swimming and diving: Alice Foote, Little Falls, won the 100-yard freestyle and backstroke against Sauk Centre and won the same two events against Albany.

Volleyball: Shania Glenz, Verndale, finished with 18 kills, 4 digs, 3 ace serves and 1 set assist against Swanville. She added 26 kills, 11 digs, 3.5 blocks and 1 set assist against Wadena-Deer Creek.

Casey Volkmann, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 19 kills, 11 digs and 5 ace serves against Nevis. She added 21 kills, 11 digs, 3 blocks and 3 ace serves against Verndale.

Ellie Michaletz, Aitkin, finished with 19 kills, 8 digs and 3 ace serves against Onamia. She added 9 kills and 7 digs against Ogilvie.

Tricia Engholm, Pillager, recorded her 1,000 career set assist after tallying 17 against Hill City.

Jami Nelson, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 13 ace serves, 13 set assists, 6 digs, 3 kills and 1 block against Staples-Motley. She added 39 set assists, 29 digs, 21 kills, 12 ace serves and 3 blocks at the Barb Neprud tournament.

Miah Hansen, Pine River-Backus, finished with 22 kills and 5 blocks against Nevis. She added 37 kills, 9 blocks, 6 digs and 5 ace serves at the Barb Neprud Tournament.

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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