Defending NEA champion Colville still on top

But Indians tested againstChewelahThe unbeaten Colville High School girl’s tennis team faced a rigorous test on Tuesday when Chewelah’s upstart tennis team, an upset winner of Lakeside last week in Northeast A League tennis play, visited the defending NEA champion Indians.Chewelah dropped a narrow 3-2 decision earlier this season to Colville.“That might prove to be a bit more interesting than I had expected,” CHS head coach Phil Johnson said after Chewelah downed always tough Lakeside. “There won’t be any room for error against them.”RECAPIn a busy week, Colville downed Freeman 4-1 back on April 13 and edged Lakeside in a critical NEA match-up on April 12, 3-2.The Indians stepped out of NEA play on April 11 and swept Deer Park of the Great Northern League, 5-0.In yet another close wire-to-wire battle with Lakeside, the Indians swept the Eagles in the three singles matches and dropped the two doubles matches.CHS had no trouble dispatching their singles counterparts from Lakeside.In the no. 1 singles match, Colville senior Liselotte Doggen downed Lakeside’s Colleen Coates in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. Fellow senior Erin Little defeated Katie Schmidlekofer, 6-1, 6-0 and CHS no. 3 Tessa Moore bested Lakeside’s Katie Storch, 6-1, 6-0.In doubles, Colville’s top duo of Carly Eakins and Alyssa Kienbaum lost to Lakeside’s Nicky March and Susie Aguirre, 1-6, 0-6 and Alison Barbour and Mariah O’Brien fell to the Eagles’ Breanna Graves and Andrea Guzman in a tough match, 1-6, 6-4, 4-6.Johnson said that Doggen was on top of her game.Dominating“She really put together some nice combinations in this match,” Johnson said. “Coates had solid ground strokes, but she didn’t have the consistency to match Liselotte. And Liselotte was able to use a variety of offensive combinations to improve her own game. Her topspin forehand really gained strength throughout the match.”Little faced a tough athlete in Katie Schmidlekofer.“Katie was quick and was able to get to many balls that normally would be winners,” Johnson said of the Lakeside veteran. “Erin had to make adjustments and continue her offensive strategy to put the pressure on her opponent. Through well-placed volleys and some powerful serves, Erin was able to dominate the match.”Moore was able to move a dogged opponent around the court and control the no. 3 singles match.“Tessa took on an opponent who knew how to keep the ball in play,” Johnson said. “If Tessa would have just stayed on the baseline and hit the ball down the middle, this would have been a very close match. But Tessa learned quickly what her opponent’s strength was and established a game plan to overcome it. She moved her opponent from side to side and then moved to the net when her opponent had to run down well-placed shots.”Ekins and Kienbaum were in tough against Lakeside’s unbeaten doubles tandem.“Their consistent ground strokes were too much for our girls,” Johnson said. “And when the ball found its way to a Lakeside net player, the point ended quickly with a point for Lakeside.”Johnson said that Ekins and Kienbaum aren’t far off from competing with the Lakeside duo, but more consistency and fewer unforced errors are the keys there for the CHS pair.ImprovementJohnson said there were many “fantastic rallies” in the no. 3 doubles match.“It was clear to everyone that Barbour and O’Brien have improved since the first match-up (with Graves/Guzman). It will be fun to see what this sophomore pair can do in the future.”In an easy win over Freeman, only Ekins/Kienbaum lost, falling to the Scotties’ Kaitlyn Gady and Kristin Talbott, 4-6, 4-6.Doggen downed Morgan Deruyter, 6-1, 6-2 in no. 1 singles, while Little was dispatching Freeman’s Andie Olson, 6-3, 6-1. In no. 3 singles, Moore had an easy time of it, dominating Freeman’s Lindsey Nordby, 6-0, 6-0.Colville’s Barbour/O’Brien beat Freeman’s Carissa Perry/Sam Strothman, 6-3, 6-3.Coach Johnson said that Doggen got off to something of a slow start against her opponent. “Her opponent made quite a few unforced errors, which made it easy for Liselotte to get her rhythm going,” Johnson said. “Liselotte transitioned from a defensive strategy to a more offensive one…that helped her control the pace of the match.”Little was able to defeat an opponent skilled at keeping the ball in play and limiting mistakes.“This type of player can be difficult to overcome because they just don’t make a lot of mistakes,” Johnson explained. “But they don’t every really hit the ball hard either. Erin really had to work on limiting her unforced errors and choosing good times to attack the net. She made some nice adjustments in the second set and the scores reflect those changes.”Moore wasn’t really challenged, as the score would indicate. “Tessa controlled the match from beginning to end by using consistent ground strokes and solid net play,” Johnson said.In the top doubles match, Ekins and Kienbaum were able to move to the net well and exchanged some exciting rallies with their opponents.“But our unforced errors were too frequent,” Johnson said. “I think if they can just fine-tune their own skills, they will see rapid improvement.”Johnson said he was pleased with the improvement of O’Brien and Barbour in the no. 2 doubles match.“It was really nice to see their improvement,” the coach said. “The effort they put out is clear—they really have a strong desire to play hard and win. The consistency is still lacking and unforced errors were abundant, but they made up for it in this match with solid serves and powerful net play.”Easy winnerIn the win over Deer Park, every CHS varsity player won. The singles players all won easily by identical 6-1, 6-1 scores.Ekins/Kienbaum had a close match with their DP opponents, winning 6-4, 7-5. “It was nice to see them get a victory in a close match,” Johnson said. “The match required them to play aggressively and work together.”Barbour/O’Brien won 6-3, 6-4 against a DP team that made them work hard for their points.THIS WEEKChewelah visited Colville on Tuesday in another key NEA match-up.On Wednesday, the Indians will step out of NEA play to host West Valley of the GNL (3:30 p.m. start).Colville is scheduled to travel to Freeman on Friday (3:30 p.m. start).