Area Female Athletes: Cardinals' duo clicking at right time

Lauren Nelson is the true definition of a teammate. Nikki Edin couldn't be happier to call Nelson a fellow Staples-Motley Cardinal. The two joined forces this season to form the No 1 doubles team for the Cardinals' tennis squad. --- Nikki Edin an...

Lauren Nelson

Lauren Nelson is the true definition of a teammate.

Nikki Edin couldn't be happier to call Nelson a fellow Staples-Motley Cardinal.

The two joined forces this season to form the No 1 doubles team for the Cardinals' tennis squad.


Nikki Edin and Lauren Nelson


  • Year: Senior (Edin) and junior (Nelson)
  • School: Staples-Motley
  • Sport: Tennis
  • Position: No. 1 doubles
  • Highlights: Won Mid-State Conference doubles title


Edin, who advanced to the Class 1A state doubles tournament last season with since graduated Kelsey Zetah, returned to her No. 1 slot, but without a partner. Enter Nelson, who didn't even play on the Cardinals' varsity team that finished third in the state last season.

Nelson jumped all the way up from the No. 4 exhibition doubles team to No. 1. Her main goal this season - to do whatever it takes to get Edin back to state.

"This summer I was just trying to improve on being more consistent and getting my serves in and aiming a lot more," said Nelson. "I've known Nikki for the longest time. I've known her since we were little kids so I already had a good feeling with her. I knew the way she played and that she almost always wins. I wanted to come in and just try and do really good for her so her senior year would be great."

So far things have worked out well. The two own a 14-4 overall record and are 9-0 in the Mid-State Conference. That includes capturing the conference No. 1 doubles title Sept. 13 by finishing 2-0 in the tournament.

"It was a big goal because it sets a good example for the rest of our team," said Edin. "It will help us to prepare for sections, too."

The duo opened the week losing to Foley's Bethany Rahm-Brittney Henry 6-4, 6-4, Sept. 9. Two days later they topped Pequot Lakes' Lauren Bengtson-Alex Nelson 6-4, 6-3 in leading the Cardinals to a 4-3 win over rival Pequot.

"Nikki is an excellent leader and captain," said Cardinals head coach Kayla Huether. "The girls really look up to her and she's always been a smart doubles player. She knows her angles on the court and her favorite shot would be the cut shot at the service line and then moving into the net to finish the point. She's had a lot of success in her tennis career."


Edin has success in most of her endeavors. She owns a 4.052 grade-point average. She also comes from a strong tennis family with her cousin Izabella Edin playing No. 1 singles for this year's Cardinals.

"It was difficult at first playing with a new person," said Edin. "I really love both of the girls' personalities, but Kelsey had some quick shoes to fill. Lauren has done a good job. She's been fun to play with. We know each other's boundaries and we challenge each other and always just have a good time. We know when to be serious and when to have fun."

Nelson is no slouch in the classroom either, sporting a 4.032 GPA.

"Lauren has really stepped up her game," said Huether. "Her ground strokes are powerful. She keeps her shots deep. They are her biggest treat. She also moves very well with Nikki. We have worked with those two and their movement together. She's had to adapt to moving to the net with Nikki because Nikki likes to go to the net and Lauren doesn't really do that."

The goal now is to get back to state, both as a doubles team and as a complete Cardinals team. For Nelson it would mean the world to help her doubles partner cap off a successful prep career.

"My personal goal is get Nikki back to state for her senior year," said Nelson. "I know she wants that and I want to help her along and make it a great, fun ride for her."

Other notable performances:

Tennis: Izabella Edin, Staples-Motley, won the No. 1 singles championship in the Mid-State Conference tournament.


Volleyball: Brittny Bzdok, Pequot Lakes, finished with 15 kills, 13 digs and eight ace serves against Pierz.

Morgan Lohmiller, Pequot Lakes, finished with 15 set assists, 11 kills, seven ace serves and six digs against Pierz.

Casey Volkmann, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 20 digs, 17 kills, 17 set assists and two ace serves against Sebeka and 11 kills, eight blocks, eight digs, six ace serves and five set assists against Pequot Lakes

Ellie Michaletz, Aitkin, finished with 20 kills, seven digs, three ace serves and a block against Onamia. She added 15 kills and 11 digs against Rush City.

Cassie Smieja, Pierz, finished with 20 digs, 12 kills and two ace serves against Holdingford.

Megan Porta, Pine River-Backus, finished with 14 kills and 13 blocks against Laporte and 25 kills, 15 blocks, 11 digs and seven ace serves in Barb Neprud tournament.

Sofia Della Pace, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 14 digs and 12 kills against Staples-Motley and 38 digs, 19 kills, eight ace serves and one block during Barb Neprud tournament.

Hallie Schmidt, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 15 kills, nine ace serves, nine digs and one block against Staples-Motley and 27 kills, 23 digs, five ace serves and 3.5 blocks during Barb Neprud tournament.


Lacy Hiltner, Pillager, finished with 27 kills, 26 digs, three blocks, three set assists and one ace serve in Barb Neprud tournament.

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Nikki Edin
Nikki Edin

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