Binder sisters take Metro doubles title for Beaverton
From the time her little sister was born, Sydnie and Cassidy Binder have shared an unbreakable bond that's carried them from Boise to Beaverton.
Separated by two years, the Binder sisters' kinship knows no bounds. They're siblings first and foremost but friends forever. When moving from state to state was tough, and taking on a new school was challenging, they were always there for each other. When singles' tennis matches went sideways, the other was always there just beyond the chain link fence, offering a smile, some sisterly advice and security. Inherently, the Binders have each other's backs.
As the sun burned brighter and the Metro League title bouts around them began to wrap up one by one, the Binders weren't so much in a bind as they were a cutthroat battle. Having combined forces to make up Beaverton's top doubles teams for districts, the Beavers were headed toward a deciding third set with Sunset's twin sisters Bo-Bae and Jin Yu.
They were the last four players on the court, the center of the district's attention both for the boys and the girls. Such scrutiny and circumstances can melt the steeliest of tandems. But the Binder tag team's been through the ringer before. The pressure was nothing new. And with the momentum on their side and their chemistry carrying them, the Binders bounced through a 6-2 third set win to take the Metro doubles' title match 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday at Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation Center.
"It was amazing, I love being out on the court with her," Cassidy Binder said. "We got out there and crushed. We did really well."
"It's really cool to be challenged, pushed this hard and still come out on top," Sydnie Binder said. "We wanted to play our game. (The Yus) are very good at taking control of the point, so our biggest thing was to charge the net and do what we could."
The district tournament was the first time Sydnie and Cassidy had played doubles together at the high school level. At local youth tournaments, the two competed side by side, but never as Beavers. They were Beaverton's two best singles players separately and decided to team up one last time with Sydnie being a senior and Cassidy a sophomore.
"At first it was tough going from singles to doubles, but because we're so close it was easier for us," Cassidy said. "It's funny because we're pretty opposite as players, so when we come together we have everything covered out there. We really got into it and each match helped us and helped us and we just improved."
"Our coach used to joke that if you put us together as one mega player we'd be unstoppable," Sydnie Binder said with a laugh.
Against the Yus, Sydnie said the Binders had to stick to the basics, deploying high percentage shots and staying within the confines of their skill sets. In the third set, the Binders broke out to a 4-1 lead, as each sister started taking big crosscourt shots from the backline and haymakers at the net, much to the approval of the crowd.
"Before each point, whether I was returning or serving I just thought about giving it my all," Cassidy Binder said. "I definitely felt we could win and each point determined that. We gave it everything. We kept getting better as each game went on."
The Binders' mom, Traci, took the women's tennis head coaching job at Pacific University in 2017 after coaching her daughters at Borah High School in Boise earlier in their careers. The sisters stayed at Borah last season when Traci moved to Forest Grove but joined their mom in Beaverton in the fall seeking better competition in the Metro League.
"We all made the move together and it's been an amazing experience," Cassidy Binder said. "It was rough at first, but I think we've done pretty well transitioning into tennis. Being in tennis has been great because we've been more involved and we've met amazing people through it."
Sydnie Binder was an Idaho state champion and Cassidy was a stellar doubles' player for Borah. They've both been tested by the district, playing against the likes of Sunset, Westview, Jesuit and St. Mary's and flourished.
"Being pushed to play at the top of your game is always going make you improve whether it's someone you've played before or somebody new," Sydnie Binder said.
For more on the Metro tennis tournament visit www.beavertonvalleytimes.com.