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MHC TENNIS: The Pioneers finish third in the team tally at the girls district tournament

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Sandys Emma Donahue approaches the net to hit a volley during Thursdays doubles final.

PORTLAND — Sandy girls tennis coach Heather Fitch found herself busy Thursday morning with five different players on the district courts at the same time.

The Pioneers saw their top two doubles teams advance to the district semifinals, while Madison Krening reached the fifth-place in the singles draw.

"It was a good season. We moved a lot of girls on this year, and it's been great to play some extra tennis," Fitch said. "It's special for our program, because everything is home grown through our coaching and our summer programs. These aren't just some club kids coming together."

Sandy finished third at the tournament with 12 teams points, coming in one win behind Barlow and four behind defending champion Clackamas.

Sandy was most impressive in the doubles draw where the No. 4-seeded pair of Emma Donahue and Kaytlin Poulin pulled off a straight-set win over the No. 1 duo out of Barlow in Ainsley Pate and Olivia O'Halloran.

"We didn't feel our teams were seeded as high as they deserved to be, but they ended up exactly where they should have been by the end of the tournament," Fitch said.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Sandys Kaytlin Poulin returns to the baseball after winning a point in the teams upset over the No. 1 seed in the doubles semifinals.

The Sandy tandem won game 4, which saw three deuce points, to go up a break early in the second set. They carried that advantage the rest of the way with Donahue hitting a sharp backhand that cleared the net player's racquet for a winner down the alley that brought up double match point.

"We had played them before, so we knew what to expect," Donahue said. "We played calm and waiting for the right opportunity to put the ball away."

Donahue and Poulin dropped a 6-1, 6-3 decision in the final to Olivia Morris and Meiling Masterson out of Clackamas. Donahue reached into the alley and punched a winner over the top, followed by Poulin putting away a volley at the net to bring Sandy event midway through the second set. The Cavaliers won the remaining three games to claim the title.

Stratton and Reiser scored a quarterfinal win over the No. 3 seed out of Centennial in Tuesday's quarterfinals to punch a ticket to state. The duo nearly advanced to the district title bout before getting tripped up 7-5 in the third set against Morris and Masterson in the semifinals.

Reiser banged a winner down the alley to break serve to open the decisive set, but Clackamas would break back and the set would remain on serve into the late stages.

The Pioneers stayed alive when Reiser paused a moment, waited for one of her opponents to step to the middle, then blasted a forehand winner down the alley. Sandy claimed the next point when Reiser hit a pair of backhand volleys at the net to back their opponents up, and Stratton chased down a tough lob shot. Clackamas sent the next ball long.

Sandy fended off a match point in the 10th game, then tied the score 5-5 when Reiser popped a volley deep, then hit a sidewinder shot out the side.

The Cavaliers would go on to hold serve and avoided a winner-take-all tiebreaker by claiming the final game in deuce.

"Our two teams play two very different styles with Sydney and Emma being aggressive and going after a lot of shots, while Emma and Kaytlin are more of a defensive team," Fitch said.

Pioneers win pair of 5th-place bouts

Sandy's Ethan Chang won an 8-5 decision over Central's Sergio Beccera in the boys 5th-place singles bout.

"It feels great to finish strong and end the season with a win," Chang said. "I was able to keep him deep, and wait for him to send me a short ball that I could capitalize on."

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Sandys Ethan Chang hits a serve during his 8-5 win in Thursdays fifth-place singles match.

The Sandy boys finished with one more win that Centennial at district to finish ahead of the Eagles in fifth place in the final Mount Hood Conference standings.

Madison Krening scored an 8-2 win in the girls fifth-place singles match. She took a commanding 6-2 lead late in the match when she spun a series of drop shots that had Central Catholic's Xinyi Chen lunging to return the ball before eventually sending one into the net.

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This story is slated for our May 15, print edition.

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