In a season and school year that had plenty of uncertainty, Molalla's No. 1 girls doubles tennis team were the model of consistency.
The pair of Hannah Nelzen and Alyssa Beatty were unbeaten in league play, at the district tournament, and then rolled through state play to claim the Class 4A state doubles title Tuesday at Marist High School.
"They are the first state champions in tennis for Molalla High School," coach Mike Clarke said. "With their points, we were also third (in team scoring) in the state tournament – another first to get a state trophy in girls tennis."
Clarke said his duo moved through the tournament bracket "fairly easily" as the second seed, beating teams from Stayton, Cascade and Marist in two sets each. The state title match had a little more drama in it after the pair opened with a first set win at 6-1.
"They played a little passive in the second set and lost it 6-7 in a tie-breaker (4-7)," Clarke said. "In the third set they started terrible and were down 1-5. I looked a little bleak."
But Nelzen and Beatty would rally, rattling off wins in the next five games to go up 6-5. Needing one more game, they lost it on a deuce point, which set up another tie-breaker. This one they won by a 7-5 score, securing the state doubles title.
"It was a great season for these two seniors," Clarke said. "Kylie Smith and Rubie Burge were also at the state tournament but had an unlucky draw with the No. 1 seed from Junction City. They played well but did not get the win.
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