Pacelli’s Johnen headed to state tennis meet

Published 6:21 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2009

There will finally be a Shamrock at the Class ‘A’ state girls tennis tournament.

Pacelli’s Lisa Johnen became the first ever Pacelli girls tennis player to qualify for the state tournament when she won the Section 1A meet in Rochester Tuesday.

Johnen, a foreign exchange student from Germany, bested top-seeded Courtney Rust of Rochester Lourdes 6-3, 6-4 in the finals to win the section title. She had lost to Rust just a week ago in section play.

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The match first set was tied at three when Johnen responded by scoring the next three points.

“Lisa just wouldn’t be denied today,” Pacelli head coach Mark Henderson said. “She really dialed in her focus to close out the first set. That’s what you have to do against players as good as Rust.”

Rust jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set and Johnen responded again to get the win.

Johnen, a No. 2 seed, beat Sarah Whitaker of St. Paul Academy in the semifinals with a 6-1, 7-6 (12-10) victory.

“I can’t say enough about the way Lisa played today,” Henderson said. “Every time she got challenged she elevated her level of play. Rust and Whitaker are great players, but Lisa knew what she had to do to beat them and she executed it brilliantly.”

Johnen will play in the Class A State Tournament at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis on October 29-30 with the opening match scheduled for an 8 a.m. start on Oct. 29.