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MHC GIRLS TENNIS: Pioneers sweep the doubles lineup to get past the defending champs

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Sandys Sydney Stratton hits a net volley during a match last week. She and partner Emma Reiser won a pivotal 7-5, 7-6 match at No. 2 doubles against Clackamas.

Tuesday, April 23

Team Score
Sandy Pioneers
Clackamas Cavaliers

The Sandy girls tennis team won two of three league duals to finish the week in a tie with Clackamas atop the Mount Hood Conference standings.

The pivotal match came mid-week with a 5-3 home win over Clackamas in a dual where half of the matches went the full three sets.

"Every match was back and forth — it was a nail biter the whole way," Sandy coach Heather Fitch said.

Sandy swept the doubles ladder with Emma Donahue and Kaytlin Poulin winning a decisive 6-1, 6-2 decision out of the No. 1 spot, while Emma Reiser and Sydney Stratton won a second-set tiebreaker to claim the No. 2 match.

"We hadn't had any outdoor practices in the two weeks leading up, but we've been in the gym working on a lot of cardio and footwork and that has shown up in these three-set matches," Fitch said. "It's also allowed us to put in a lot of work on doubles strategy and movement on the court."

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Sandy doubles player Emma Donohue follows through on a serve.

The clincher for Sandy came at the bottom of the doubles ladder where Allison Rodriguez and Madison Bender bounced back from a first-set loss to claim 12 of the last 17 games to win the No. 3 spot. Sisters Rocio and Brisa Petravicius sealed the team victory by winning a third-set tiebreaker at No. 4 doubles.

"My girls are pretty steady and strong in the mental game," Fitch said. "And they had the whole team rallying behind them. I believe that tennis is a team sport, so every one stays until all the matches are done. It's important to hear your teammates cheering your every point."

Lauren Twist broke up a Clackamas sweep in singles with a 6-2, 6-3 win at the No. 4 spot.

Sandy opened the week with a 5-3 road win at Barlow, then finished it with a 5-3 loss at home to the Bruins in a team dual that had been delayed five times due to rainy weather.

Sandy is tied atop the league standings with Clackamas at 10-2 heading into the final week of the regular season, while Barlow is one win back in third place. The Pioneers have split the season series against both of their fellow top contenders.

Sandy closes out the dual-meet season against Central Catholic at Mt. Hood Community College today before competing at the district tournament beginning Monday.

This story is slated for our May 1, print edition.

— - MHC tennis

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