Sandy girls off to a quick start at district
The Sandy girls tennis team kept itself in contention to win the Mount Hood Conference district title with a strong showing in Monday's opening round of the tournament.
The Pioneers picked up three early wins in the doubles bracket, highlighted by No. 4 seed Emma Donahue and Kaytlin Poulin taking a 6-3, 7-5 win over the Clackamas duo of Meiling Masterson and Olivia Zhang in the only head-to-head matchup between the schools Monday.
Masterson used an overhead kill to break serve and give the Cavaliers' pair a slim lead midway through the second set. Clackamas would have a chance to serve out the set, but Sandy's duo won 12 of the last 15 points to finish the match in straight sets.
"We were struggling at first, then we realized that we needed to move our feet more," Donohue said. "That got us back to the way we were playing in the first set and pushed us through."
Poulin put the Pioneers back on top 6-5 when she dropped her racquet down low to return a fast-paced shot at her knees. She followed with a service ace to claim the 11th game.
Donohue reached for a return that found a hole on the Clackamas side to gain the upper hand early in the final game, and she won an exchange at the net with Masterson to earn three match points.
"It makes it easier to have that many chances, but we try to take it one point at a time and not worry about what's next," Donohue said.
Clackamas fended off the first match point before hitting long on the next one.
The Sandy pair broke serve on their first opportunity when Donohue bounced an overhead smash untouchably high and into the back fence, then followed with a forehand winner down the alley.
Donohue and Poulin would rush to a 4-1 lead on their way to a decisive first-set win.
Sandy and Clackamas were tied with five wins apiece with only a handful of matches remaining in Monday's first round of play. Fellow contender Barlow was one win back in third place.
Sandy's No. 6 seed of Sydney Stratton and Emma Reiser also picked up a quick straight-set win on the doubles courts, while the newly formed tandem of traditional singles players Avery Whitlock and Haley Chang opened with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Reynolds Megan Dobrinski and Fatima Rodriguez.
Chang converted an overhead in deuce point to give Sandy its first lead 3-2 in the first set. The Pioneers duo would drop only one more game the rest of the way, hitting the ball with much more pace than their opponents.
Sandy also got a pair of wins on the singles courts where Lauren Twist won 6-4, 6-1 over David Douglas' Evelyn Chan, and Madison Krening split sets before her opponent retired due to injury.
The doubles semifinals and championship matches, along with the singles finales will be held Thursday morning at David Douglas High School.
View first-round photos at ...
This story is slated for our May 8, print edition.