Cougars’ standouts take 2nd in Class AA doubles
Chase Roseth faced a potentially troublesome decision shortly before the high school tennis postseason.
He could continue pursuing the state singles qualifying spot he’d chased for years, and no one would have faulted him. Or, he could try something new in his senior year and play in the section doubles tournament with his brother Hunter, a sophomore.
The choice seemed difficult – to everybody but Chase Roseth.
“I definitely had to think about it,” said Chase, a fixture in the Lakeville South boys lineup for six years. “But my brother was getting good, and I thought if we played doubles we’d have a decent chance to win state.
“I don’t think it was that hard a decision.”
The Roseth brothers became the first Lakeville South players ever to qualify for state by finishing second in the Section 1AA doubles tournament. Then they won three of four matches at last week’s state tournament and won the runner-up medals. The only players to beat them were Nicholas Aney and Varyn Iyer of Rochester Century, who did so in the section and state championship matches.
Chase Roseth played first singles and Hunter played third singles in team competition for Lakeville South, which went 24-3 and reached the Section 1AA final before losing to Rochester Mayo 4-3. Their doubles experience together was limited to Lakeville South’s doubles invitational in April and, Hunter believes, one other youth tournament.
Why did they think they could be successful in doubles? “His serve and groundstrokes are really good, and I’m pretty good at the net,” Hunter said.
“He’s probably still a better doubles player than singles player, and with his game I thought he could compete with anybody in the doubles tournament,” Chase said of his brother.
The Roseths won their first three state tournament matches in straight sets. They defeated St. Cloud Tech’s Nate Jordre and Nick Portz 6-4, 6-1 in the first round, Minnetonka’s Carter Smiley and Trevor Smiley 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals and Benilde-St. Margaret’s Tristan Fjelstad and Ryan Frost 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals. Century’s Aney and Iyer won the championship match 6-0, 6-1.
The Century team was tough because “they’re both (ranked) in the top 10 in the state in singles,” Hunter said. “My brother is in the top 10 (Chase was eighth in Class AA). I was the only one in that match who wasn’t in the top 10. It seemed like they got almost everything back.”
As the first players to represent South at state, the Roseth brothers were understandably nervous when they walked on the court at the University of Minnesota’s Baseline Tennis Center.
“I think that was the same for everybody,” Chase said. “The first two matches we were favored to win, and we settled down. We knew the Benilde-St. Margaret’s team we played in the semifinals was very good at doubles. We had to play our best to beat them, and we did.”
The brothers helped put Lakeville South on the map – and in the state rankings – in boys tennis. Chase Roseth played several matches at No. 1 singles for South as a seventh-grader and regularly held the No. 1 spot the next five years.
Chase has more than 100 career singles victories; among the players he defeated this season were state qualifiers Gavin Young of Eastview and Maxim Zagrebelny of Eagan (Zagrebelny finished fourth in the Class AA singles tourney). Sean Kelly, Lakeville North’s No. 1 player, is a friend and longtime tennis rival of Chase Roseth’s.
Kelly also has more than 100 career singles victories and, like the Roseths, qualified for state for the first time this season. Lakeville players have one of the toughest routes to the state tournament through Section 1AA, where Rochester Mayo and Rochester Century are established state powers. Doug Roseth, father of Chase and Hunter and Lakeville South’s boys tennis coach from 2012-16, said he believes Chase and Kelly would have been multiple-time state singles qualifiers in several other sections.
Chase will attend Iowa Central but isn’t planning to play college tennis, so it’s possible last week was the end of his competitive career. If so, “finishing second at state with my brother is a good way to end it,” he said. “It’s a happy feeling.”
Hunter has two more years to try to help South get its team to the state tournament; Chase is the only player in the Cougars’ singles lineup who graduated. And, “next year I guess I’ll have to look for a new doubles partner,” Hunter said.
Eastview eighth-grader Gavin Young defeated Lakeville North senior Sean Kelly 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round of the Class AA singles tournament. Nikita Snezhko of Robbinsdale Armstrong defeated Young 6-1, 7-5 in the quarterfinals.
Kelly lost to Bjorn Swenson of Mounds View 3-6, 7-5, 10-7 in the consolation quarterfinals.