Bruins get past St. Marys to finish second at the district tournament

by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Barlows Tai Powell returns a backhand shot during the teams 7-6, 6-4 win in the district semifinals Wednesday. The Barlow girls tennis team had put together a solid three-day run at the Mount Hood Conference district tournament, but still needed a pressure-packed win from its top doubles team if it was going to move ahead of one of the private schools in the team scoring.

That showdown came in the doubles semifinals Wednesday afternoon where top-seeded Alex Kelsey and Tai Powell from Barlow put down a challenge for the St. Mary’s duo of Sierra Lemon and Sophie Peel for a 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 win.

The Bruins appeared ready to race through unchallenged, building a 5-1 first-set lead only to see St. Mary’s rush back to force a tiebreaker — the first team to seven points would claim the set.

The Blues won the first point on a sharp backhand off Lemon’s racquet, but the Barlow pair claimed the next six points to take command.

The Bruins pulled in front after Powell traded a long series of baseline lobs with Peel before gradually picking up the pace and winning the point with a backhand shot into the far corner. Barlow went up 5-1 at the changeover when Kelsey charged down the line and hit a forehand winner down the alley that went unchallenged by either player on the St. Mary’s side.

“We were definitely experiencing some nerves in that one, but we knew we had to give it our all, and we pulled through,” Kelsey said.

The Kelsey-Powell combination went on to beat Central Catholic’s Megan Moran and Jackie Sheridan 6-0, 6-2 in the championship match, nudging the Bruins past St. Mary’s by a single point for second place at the tournament.

On the singles side, Central Catholic’s Elizabeth Johnson won each of her matches in straight sets, finishing with a 6-4, 7-6 win over Gresham’s Jessica Emoto in the finals.

Central Catholic won the team tournament with 18 points, putting it out of reach early with a 6-0 record in first-round matches, highlighted by Erin McGinnis with a 6-1, 6-4 win over the No. 5 seed in her opener.

Look for extended coverage in the Friday, May 10, print edition.

View an online photo gallery from the tournament at ...

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