After a week off for Spring Break, the Colville High girl’s tennis team faces a light week on the courts before embarking on a heavy schedule next week.
The Indians of coach Phil Johnson, who edged Chewelah 4-3 back on April 2, were at Central Valley High School for a non-league match-up with the Greater Spokane League school on Monday.
The Indians will be idle until Great Northern League play resumes on Tuesday, April 22 at Deer Park. That match is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start.
Colville will host Lakeside of the Northeast A League in a non-league match-up on Wednesday, April 23 (3:30 p.m.).
CHS eased past Chewelah in another non-league match back on April 2, 4-3. Colville split singles matches and won two of three doubles match-ups.
In singles, Colville No. 1 Darby Fox downed Chewelah’s Chandler KirkPatterson, 6-4, 6-1, and CHS No. 2 Megan Lee returned to the courts and fell to Chewelah’s Brendan Retherford, 1-6, 4-6.
Colville No. 3 Paige Milatz dropped a close 3-6, 6-7(4-7) verdict to Liam Brozik. Colville’s Dani Cloke beat Chewelah’s Shelbee Longman, 6-0, 6-4.
Boys vs. girls
Those matches were notable for the fact that the CHS players were opposing boys.
In doubles, Colville No. 1 Taylor Little/Cassidy Lindback defeated Chewelah’s Smith/Hernandez, 6-4, 6-1, and the Indians’ Mariah O’Brien and Rebekah Mauer bested Chewelah’s Hanson/Justice, 5-7, 6-3, 6-0.
McKenzie Mitchell and Hannah Greene fell to Chewelah’s Issler/Rice, 5-7, 1-6.
Chewelah simply doesn’t have the talent pool in singles to compete effectively with Colville this spring. Hence, the mixed singles format.
“Darby (Fox) has earned the new nickname Billy Jean King,” quipped Johnson after Fox downed the Chewelah boy’s player. “She was able to come away with a very impressive win over their top player.”
Johnson called the match-up a “fantastic match” for both players.
“They each wanted desperately to win and exchanged one beautiful shot after another,” Johnson said. “It was fun to watch. Darby gained the upper hand with her offensive strategy and attacked Chandler’s weaker second serves.”
Once Fox won the first set, she was able to maintain a mental advantage in the second set, Johnson added.
Johnson said that Lee worked hard on her opponent’s backhand after losing the first set and was able to make the match “very interesting.”
Johnson said that Milatz struggled with her male counterpart’s strategy in the first set, but was able to make some necessary adjustments in the second set.
“There were some rallies that lasted well over a minute with those two players,” Johnson said. “That’s not common for players that hit hard balls.”
Cloke was able to dominate her No. 4 singles match against Longman, matching her opponent’s groundstrokes and moving her opponent around the court enough to pick up a hard-earned second set win.
In doubles, Johnson said that Little and Lindback started their match with some uncharacteristic unforced errors.
“The warm-up was short and that may have contributed to the slow start,” Johnson said. “When they got to moving around a little more, Taylor and Cassidy started to place the ball well and cover each other consistently on the court.
“They work well together and will be one of those teams that opponents worry about because when they are firing on all cylinders, they are dangerous.”
Mauer and O’Brien started their match off poorly.
“Volleys that should have been easy winners were either sinking into the net or flying against the fence,” Johnson recalled. “There was no control.”
But after losing the first set, the duo literally turned the match around 180 degrees, playing volleys with more finesse and control.
“After winning the second set, the mental advantage was clear,” Johnson said.
Mitchell and Ledgerwood battled in their doubles match, but thy tandem was plagued by unforced errors “and the questionable desire to hit the ball right to the Chewelah net player,” Johnson said. “They were close in the first set, but Chewelah took a very offensive approach in the second set and it paid off.”