Squaring off against its fourth state-ranked team in 13 matches this season, the Owatonna girls tennis team lost, 6-1, to No. 4 Rochester Mayo on Tuesday in a Big Nine Conference contest at the OHS tennis courts.
The defeat drops the Huskies to 6-2 in conference action and 9-4 overall with all four defeats coming against teams currently ranked in the Class AA top 10 poll (Eden Prairie, Lakeville North, Rochester Century, Rochester Mayo).
Against the fourth-ranked Spartans, Megan Johnson collected Owatonna’s lone victory in a marathon 7-5, 4-6 (14-12) victory at No. 2 singles over Taylor Julsrud. The victory extends Johnson’s winning streak to eight consecutive matches.
Sara Anderson rebounded from a 6-0 loss in the opening set at No. 1 singles and pushed Claire Loftus to the brink in a long second set before coming up short, 6-4. Loftus is one of the top-ranked junior high players in the entire nation and displayed excellent range and technique against the veteran Anderson.
Caitlynne Bussert and Leah Tucker pushed Grace Ackerman and Ani Bulbulian to an extra point at top doubles before coming up short 7-5, 6-3.
The Huskies jump back into action on Thursday at Red Wing.
Rochester Mayo 6, Owatonna 1
No. 1 Claire Loftus (RM) def. Sara Anderson 6-0, 6-4; No. 2 Megan Johnson (O) def. Taylor Julsrud 7-5, 4-6 (14-12); No. 3 Sutton Julsrud (RM) def. Olivia Herzog 6-2, 6-0; No. 4 Nandini Iyer (RM) def. Alex Huemoeller 6-1, 6-1
No. 1 Grace Ackerman/Ani Bulbulian (RM) def. Caitlynne Bussert/Leah Tucker 7-5, 6-3; No. 2 Deeya Patel/Ellen Baronczyk (RM) def. Liv Matejcek/Kat McDermott 6-4, 6-2; No. 3 Taylor Hill/Molly Pickering (RM) def. Jade Hanson/Olivia McDermott 6-0, 6-2