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Central Catholic sets up tennis showdown

The Rams knock off Gresham 6-2 to stay perfect early in the league season


by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Central Catholics Julia Johnson makes a forehand return on her way to a 6-2, 6-3 win in No. 2 singles Wednesday.Central Catholic relied on its doubles teams to keep pace with St. Mary’s atop the Mount Hood Conference girls tennis standings. The Rams swept the tag-team matches, all in straight sets, to power past Gresham 6-2 on Wednesday afternoon.

Central Catholic’s Catherine Anderson and Maddie Belgrave won the most tightly contested showdown at No. 4 doubles, overcoming an early deficit to gain a 5-3 first-set lead on an Anderson put-away at the net.

Gresham fought off a set point to bring up deuce — a winner take-all point during the regular season. Belgrave finished off the opening set with a forehand blast that clipped the tape and fell on the other side for a winner.

Central surrendered only six games in the top three doubles matches combined with Rebecca Reiser and Emma Anderson coming up with a perfect 6-0, 6-0 win at the top of the ladder.

The teams split the singles matches with Julia Johnson scoring a 6-2, 6-3 win over Gresham rookie Chelsea Davis in the No. 2 spot. She took command of the second set 4-1 after crossing the width of the court to reach a ball in the alley. Johnson whipped a forehand return over the top of her opponent’s racquet for a winner that landed in the far corner.

Davis fought off three match points, but Johnson stayed on the attack, coming to the net on deuce point forcing her opponent to target the edges of the court. Davis’ final shot touched down two inches wide of the line.

“My goal was to keep hitting the ball where she was not, force her to go back and forth to both sides of the court and tire her out,” Johnson said.

Erin McGinnis picked up a 6-4, 6-4 win in No. 3 singles.

Gresham senior Jessica Emoto claimed a 6-0, 6-2 win over Rams’ junior Elizabeth Johnson at the top of the singles ladder — a match featuring a pair of state quarterfinalists from a year ago.

Emoto claimed the first eight games with a steady flow of fast-paced shots.

“I wasn’t able to beat her last season, so it’s a good start,” Emoto said. “It took a lot of mental focus — not getting down when I lost a point.”

The Rams take on St. Mary’s in a battle at the top of the MHC at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, at Willamette Park.

View a photo gallery from Wednesday’s dual at daveball.exposuremanager.com.