Indians dominate District 7 1A at WSU
Colville High continued its successful run through the Northeast A League again last weekend at Washington State University, annexing singles and doubles championships at the District 7 1A Tournament.
The two-time NEA champion and District champion Indians advance District 7 1A singles champion Tessa Moore, two-time District doubles champions’ Liselotte Doggen and Erin Little, and the doubles team of senior Carly Ekins and junior Alyssa Kienbaum (fourth seeded to regionals).
The regional tournament will be held May 18-19 at West Valley High School (Spokane). The Tournament will start at 9 a.m. on Friday.
It has been another storybook season for Colville High head coach Phil Johnson and his Indians.
While CHS has become accustomed to success on the courts under Johnson, who has led the Tribe program from its inception, the District tournament marked the first time Colville has produced singles and doubles champions in the same season.
The junior Moore, a first team NEA All-League selection who entered the District tournament with an 8-0 record and top seed, didn’t disappoint on the WSU courts.
Moore opened the tournament with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Tenika Smith of Chewelah and followed that up with a convincing 6-2, 6-3 win over Andie Olson.
That win adavanced Moore to the regional tournament and the District title match-up with Naomi Miller of Chewelah, who gained the final with an upset of the number two seed.
In the championship singles match, Miller was no match for Moore, who won 6-0, 6-1.
Johnson was pleased with the play of Moore, who has been more than solid all spring long and was dominating in Pullman.
“Tessa will be seeded No. 1 at the regional tournament,” Johnson said. “That will be very challenging…the B schools have several proven singles players (two of them qualified for the state tournament last spring).”
Colville’s other singles’ player, freshman Taylor Little, didn’t advance, but showed promise of a bright future.
“The experience was very valuable for Taylor,” Johnnson said. “I could see that she lacked the confidence that she usually exhibits in practice. But she has the potential to fill her sister’s shoes and to be part of the legacy that is Colville tennis.”
In doubles, Doggen, the league Most Valuable Player, and first team All-NEA pick Little were dominating in winning the District title and advancing as top see to regionals.
Doggen/Little came into the tournament seeded No. 2 to Lakeside’s duo, 8-0 in league.
“I didn’t argue at the seeding meeting about getting the top seed for Doggen and Little because I really felt that there was only one other team in the tournament that could beat them (Lakeside),” Johnson explained. “As long as they were in opposite brackets, the rest was irrelevant.”
Johnson was right.
Doggen/Little opened the tournament with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Freeman’s duo of Hansen/Perry, controlling the net in the process. In the semis, Colville dominated their Chewelah counterparts, 6-1, 6-1.
Doggen/Little were playing with a great deal of confidence and were clearly the dominant doubles team at WSU.
“When they play with confidence, they look nearly unbeatable,” Johnson said. “I think Chewelah could sense that and they weren’t going to find a way to win that match.”
In the finals, it was the expected rematch between Doggen/Little and Lakeside’s Susie Aguirre and Nikki March. The last time this foursome faced each other was in the regional championship match-up last spring. The Eagles won then, but not this time around.
Doggen/Little won the close games and were able to come out with a tough 6-3, 6-2 win.
“The girls played with confidence and did not hesitate to move up to the net and play a very offensive strategy,” their coach said. “Erin and Liselotte attacked the net player with some powerful ground strokes and utilized powerful first serves to get an advantage.
Win the close ones
“The thing I liked most was they were able to win those close games…that experience is crucial to prepare for the closer matches, which will more than likely occur at the regional tournament and will definitely happen at State.”
Senior Ekins and junior Kienebaum came into District seeded No. 6. That meant that to advance to the regional tournament, the pair would have to pull off an upset or two along the way.
Ekins/Kienbaum put themselves behind the proverbial eight-ball with an opening 1-6, 3-6 loss to Chewelah’s top team of Kenney/Kofmehl.
“We made too many unforced errors and Chewelah capitalized on every net opportunity,” Johnson said of the first game. “We made some adjustments and did better in the second set, but it wasn’t enough.”
That put Ekins/Kienbaum in the consolation bracket, where they would battle to get third or fourth seeds to the regional.
The Colville duo staved off elimination by beating Freeman’s Hansen/Perry, 6-2, 6-3.
In their next match, one that would determine whether they would advance to the regional or go home, Ekins/Kienbaum downed Freeman’s top team of Gady/Talbot 7-6(7-4), 7-6(7-2).
The win avenged an April 9 league loss to the Scotties.
“The girls have improved quite a bit in the past few weeks,” Johnson noted, adding that the two were utilizing a new strategy that emphasized their strengths. Kienbaum took the net and Ekins covered the backcourt on every point.
In a seeding match for third and fourth, the Colville pair took on the top Chewelah team again, but couldn’t beat them the second time and fell, 2-6, 3-6.