Girls tennis moves into first place
6A GIRLS TENNIS
Mount Hood Conference
|Sandy Pioneers (won 10-9 sets)|
The Sandy High girls tennis team moved to the top of the early-season Mount Hood Conference standings by squeaking out a tiebreaker win at defending league champion Clackamas last Thursday.
"They are going to be one of our top competitors this season, so this is a huge win for us," Sandy coach Heather Fitch said. "We knew it was going to be a tough match, so we put in extra practice time to get in some extra hitting and some extra serves."
Sandy won three out of four in the singles ladder with Madison Krening and Lauren Twist winning in straight sets, while Haley Chang went an extra game in the third set to claim No. 3 singles.
"The dual kept going back and forth and the girls were feeling the pressure, but I know we have strong players," Fitch said.
Sandy secured at least a split in match play when Emma Donahue and Katylin Poulin won 6-4, 6-3 in No. 2 doubles.
Clackamas fought back, leaving the fate of the team score to No. 4 doubles, which went into a third-set tiebreaker that was played under darkness as the clock neared 8 p.m.
The Clackamas duo of Kassidy Nguyen and Kayla Huynh won the marathon battle 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 over Sandy's Rocio and Brisa Petravicius.
"Our girls came off the court really upset, but I don't think they realized the importance of picking up the second set," Fitch said. "It was the best I've seen them play — they played their hearts out."
By claiming the middle set of the match, the tag-team duo swung the sets-won tiebreaker to Sandy's favor securing the team victory.
The Pioneers opened the week with a 6-2 home win over David Douglas, taking early command by sweeping the first four matches onto the courts.
Sydney Stratton and Emma Reiser won 6-3, 6-3 in No. 1 doubles — a match that saw four of the first five games decided on deuce point. The Sandy pair won 12 of 14 (.857) to finish the first set.
"That gave us a lot of confidence, but you still have to take each point as it comes," Stratton said.
Stratton served up a love game, and Reiser hit a forehand that went untouched down the alley to bring up triple set-point.
The teams would trade the lead a couple times early in the second set before Sandy claimed the final four games to secure the victory. Reiser turned the tide of the set when she volleyed four straight balls at the net before swatting a winner out the left side.
In the next game, Reiser hit three straight shots from the baseline, three of them lobs to keep the ball away from the Scots' net player. Eventually, David Douglas hit into the net, giving Sandy the pivotal deuce point.
"They are really good at the net, so I was just trying to keep it away at all costs," Reiser said. "Halfway through the second set we were able to kick out any negative thoughts, and that helped us get to the end."
Sandy's Avery Whitlock won 6-1, 6-4 on the No. 1 singles court, taking command late in the first set with a winning drop shot, followed by a passing forehand that whizzed by her opponent as she was coming to the net.
Sandy improved to 4-0 in league duals heading into spring break.
"There was some doubt about how we would fit into the new league, but it feels good to win some matches at 6A," Stratton said. "So far we are proving people wrong."
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This story is slated for our March 27, print edition.
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