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Sandy girls settle for a third-place finish

Hailey Fischer earns a state berth in the singles bracket


by: SANDY POST: DAVID BALL - Sandys Hailey Fischer connects for a forehand return during her singles semifinal match at Saturdays district tournament. PORTLAND — The Sandy girls tennis team used a near-perfect opening round to move into contention at the Northwest Oregon Conference district tournament last week before settling for third place.

The Pioneers combined to go 8-1 (.889) in first-round bouts, the only loss coming against the top seed on the singles side. That allowed Sandy to pile on the team points to keep pace with Wilsonville and Sherwood atop the leader board.

Sandy’s duo of Grace Knapp and Torrey Rund pulled out a hard-fought 6-4, 6-3 win in doubles action. Rund punched a winner through the middle to put the Pioneers up 2-1 early in the second set — an advantage the pair would never surrender.

“We were able to keep a good attitude going and it gave us a boost of confidence after taking that first set,” Rund said.

Putting away their Parkrose foes would prove to be a difficult task with Narisa Singh coming up with a series of unlikely returns at the net that kept the final game in deuce point for extended play. Knapp eventually got the job done with a well-placed backhand that skipped through the court at a sharp angle leaving no chance of a return.

“We had to play smart and keep mixing it up so they wouldn’t know what to expect,” Knapp said.

Teammates Tori Eri and Mikayla Lindsey scored a lopsided 6-2, 6-0 win in their opener, taking a quick 3-0 lead in the second set on a series of winning volleys by Lindsey up front. The pair extended to a 5-0 lead after Eri got into the pinball action, winning a four-hit volley at the net.

The Sandy team closed out a perfect second set with Eri scoring on back-to-back smashes — the second one had so much force that it cleared the fence and bounced across the street.

Eri and Lindsey would also win their second-round match in straight sets before falling to the No. 4 seed in the quarterfinals.

Sandy’s Zewdi Cass and MaKenna Wells opened with a 6-4, 6-0 win, setting the tone with a hard-fought victory in the opening set. The duo saw a 4-1 lead evaporate, as the Liberty duo pulled even 4-4 with a series of cross-court winners.

But the Pioneers wouldn’t drop another game.

The duo turned the tide when Cass hit a lob shot inches inside the baseline that sent their opponents scrambling and set up Wells for an easy smash down the center line. Sandy would go on to force double break-point, but would only need one when Wells spun a drop shot dead at the net to put the Pioneers back on top.

Sandy closed out the first set with a love-game that featured a lob winner by Wells, followed by a hard-hit ace through the middle.

The Sandy duo scored a perfect 6-0, 6-0 decision in the second round before falling to the No. 3 seed in the quarterfinals.

Sandy’s other doubles win came from No. 2 seed Sawyer Kurtz and Emmy Thatcher.

On the singles side, Hailey Fischer advanced farther than any Pioneer at the tournament, reaching the semifinals with a series of straight-set wins before falling 6-2, 6-3 against No. 2 seed Allison Schwarm.

Fischer put up a fight, winning the first game of the match, and getting off to a solid start in the second set as well. After falling behind 30-0 in the first game, Fischer held serve in the second set by reeling off four straight points. She would maintain a 2-1 advantage after drawing her opponent in tight and hitting a lob winner over the top. On the next point, Fischer hit a clean drop shot on the sideline that Schwarm couldn’t reach in time.

Schwarm would regain her edge in the middle games to close out the match in straight sets.

Sandy’s Taylor Courtain and Christian Schlaht advanced to the quarterfinals, while Kenna Joy scored a first-round win.

Wilsonville won the tournament title with 35 points, edging Sherwood by a half-point. Sandy was third with 28.5 points.

View a photo gallery from the tournament at daveball.exposuremanager.com.