Defending NEA, District
championâ€™s off to fast start
The Colville High girlâ€™s tennis team got its 2012 season off to a fast start last week with wins over Chewelah and perennial Northeast A League power Lakeside.
In both matches, the Indians were unbeaten in singles and lost both doubles matches.
Weather permitting, Colville was scheduled to host Freeman on the CHS courts Tuesday in a NEA match-up and travel to West Valley on Wednesday (3:30 p.m.) for a non-league battle with the Eagles.
Colville will return to NEA action on Thursday when they travel to Riverside for a 3:30 p.m. match.
CHS will be off for spring break and return to the courts on Tuesday, April 10 when they host Deer Park (3:30 p.m.).
Like last spring, Lakeside is expected to give defending league and district champion Colville its sternest test. So it went back on March 20 at Nine Mile Falls, where the Indians eked out a 3-2 win on the strength of a trio of singles wins by Liselotte Doggen, Erin Little and Tessa Moore.
Doggen downed Allie McCann 6-0, 6-1, while Little was dispatching Colleen Coates, 6-0, 6-0. Moore beat Megan Hord, 6-2, 6-2.
Lakeside dominated doubles play. The Indiansâ€™ Carly Ekins and Yelena Kalina lost to Nicky March and Susie Aguirre, 2-6, 0-6 and Colvilleâ€™s Alison Barbour and Mariah Oâ€™Brien dropped a 4-6, 3-6 verdict to Lakesideâ€™s Breanna Graves and Andrea Guzman.
CHS tennis coach Phil Johnson was pleased that his team was able to get past another formidable Lakeside team. Like last yearâ€™s match-ups with the Eagles, this one could have gone either way.
â€śThis match was just what I expected,â€ť Johnson said. â€śOur singles are strong and our doubles need work. Typically in the past, we have had one or two solid singles players and one or two solid doubles teams. That isnâ€™t the case this year. We have numerous doubles players, but no one is standing out at this pointâ€¦we need to develop some strong pairs soon.â€ť
In singles, Doggen got off to a quick start against McCann and won easily. With the wind howling from the south, Doggen was able to keep her groundstrokes under control, Johnson said.
â€śShe limited the use of the lob and found ways to move her opponent around the court,â€ť Johnson said.
Little was also impressive in her first match of the season.
â€śErin took on a player with some impressive ground strokes, but she was able to control the match with powerful first serves, minimal unforced errors and some solid net play,â€ť Johnson said. â€śShe didnâ€™t overplay the ball due to the fact that the wind was a factor. Erin had no trouble maintaining all the momentum throughout the match.â€ť
Moore, filling the number three singles spot, was involved in a pivotal match as it turned out.
â€śShe was the final varsity match on the courts after the score was tied at 2-2,â€ť Johnson related. â€śIn the deciding match, Tessa was able to limit her unforced errors and earn a victory with a relatively passive style of play.â€ť
Colvilleâ€™s Ekins and Kalina squared off against the defending regional champions from Lakeside.
â€śThey started off okay and were down a game at 2-3 in the first set, but then the wheels fell off,â€ť Johnson said. â€śWe began to feed the Lakeside net player repeatedly. That led to numerous Lakeside points.â€ť
Rallies were limited during the match because of unforced errors that plagued Ekins and Kalina, Johnson said.
Barbour and Oâ€™Brien put up a good battle, but werenâ€™t able to capitalize on some well placed shots, Johnson said.
â€śThat allowed Lakeside to earn points they should have probably lost,â€ť Johnson said, adding that â€śAlison and Mariah play well together, but they need more work on their doublesâ€™ strategy.â€ť
Colville won another narrow 3-2 decision at Chewelah to open the season on March 21.
Once again, Colville dominated singles and was winless in doubles play.
In singles on the Chewelah (Jenkins) High School courts, Doggen downed Kayleigh Hansen, 8-0 and Little beat Tenika Smith, 8-0. Moore eased past Chewelahâ€™s Megan Jensen, 8-1.
In doubles play, Ekins and Kalina fell to Chewelahâ€™s Tia Justice and Veronica Haflett, 3-6, 0-6, while the Indiansâ€™ Cassidy Lindback and Taylor Little were on the short end of a 4-6, 2-6 decision to Gia Lu and Franzi Lauber.
Johnson said that singles went to a pro set format instead of two out of three sets because Chewelahâ€™s singles teams are weak.
Chewelah dominates doubles play
â€śThe Chewelah coach admitted early on that her singles were really weak and her doubles were strong,â€ť Johnson explained. â€śDoing the pro set created more time for other matches.
â€śChewelahâ€™s strength this year is definitely in their doublesâ€¦they gave our doubles teams everything they could handle and more,â€ť coach Johnson pointed out.
Justice and Haflett dominated at the net and moved the ball around the court very well, according to Johnson.
â€śIt is evident that the lack of time on the courts (and Johnson isnâ€™t counting snow shoveling time here) is an issue for us,â€ť he said. â€śOur doubles teams couldnâ€™t get any kind of rhythm going.â€ť
Johnson thinks that his underclass duo of LInback and Little have a chance to be solid players in the future. They just need more seasoning and court time.
Doggen and Erin Little teamed up last spring to finish fifth place at the State 1A Tournament in doubles. Thatâ€™s the highest finish ever for a CHS tennis player(s). This year, they have the choice of competing in doubles or singles.
Playing the boys
â€śOur region is filled with solid senior singles players this year, so this would prove to be difficult for both Erin and Liselotte to make it, since only three out of the entire region make it to state,â€ť Johnson explained. â€śIn doubles, they have a very good chance at getting back to the state tournament and possibly finishing with another medal, perhaps finishing even higher than fifth place.â€ť
To prepare for that possibility, the duo took on a boyâ€™s varsity pair last week in an exhibition match.
â€śThe match proved to be exactly what they needed,â€ť Johnson said. â€śThe match was extremely close and gave them some much needed competition. If we can continue to get them a solid combination of singles and doubles play, they should be ready for the much anticipated tournaments at the end of the season.â€ť