Medical Lake will send a third and fourth place singles entry, plus a doubles team that earned fourth place in last weekend’s district championships to regional competition Friday and Saturday at West Valley High School in Spokane Valley.
Katie Larkin defeated fellow Cardinal Rachel Hansen when they played each other for the finals of the consolation bracket, but played a super tiebreaker. Larkin won 10-5 and will go into the regionals as the No. 3 with Hansen No. 4.
Larkin won her first match in straight sets over her Freeman opponent and that earned her a meeting with the Northeast A League’s No. 2 seed, Sydney Spray of Riverside.
They started the match Friday and had to suspend it due to darkness and pick it up at the beginning of the second set Saturday morning.
Larkin lost 2-6, 5-7, but it was a multi-hour match. “Spray's serve is the toughest in the league, but Katie did a pretty good job getting it back and putting the ball into play,” head coach Dawn Eliassen said.
The loss bumped Larkin to the semis of the consolation bracket as well, joining Hansen. Larkin outlasted her Chewelah opponent in the heat 6-1, 6-2 for the regional berth against Hansen.
Hansen won her opening match over her Lakeside opponent 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 and earned a match against the NEA’s top seed, Andie Olson from Freeman. Dropping a 4-6, 4-6 decision to Olson bumped Hansen into the semi-finals of the consolation bracket where she posted a 6-1, 6-2 victory and earned a match with Larkin.
The final game of the match had at least nine deuces with Hansen fighting off several match points.
“We knew Olson had a deadly backhand when given a short ball, so Rachel did a terrific job of mixing things up and playing the ball high and deep making it nearly impossible for Olson to put her preferred spin on that backhand,” Eliassen explained.
Amy Ryan and Annette Carlson were the No. 3 doubles seed. They won their opening match in straight sets over Lakeside. Their second match came against No. 2 Freeman which they dropped 6-7(2-7), 4-6.
“This match couldn't have been much closer,” Eliassen said. “In the end we just made a few too many mistakes.” With a match this close, the difference can literally come down to a matter of two or three points total.
Mary Lewan and Katelynn Houger went in as the No. 4 seed in doubles, faced and rallied to beat their Freeman opponents in the opening match, falling in the opening set 5-7, but held on to win the second 7-5 and third 6-4. “Third set wins have been pretty standard for our tennis team this year, particularly for Mary and Katelynn,” Eliassen said.
The pair then faced a Chewelah juggernaut, first from the league’s doubles MVPs, losing 3-6, 1-6. That was followed by a duo of the Cougars’ top two singles players who claimed a straight sets victory, 3-6, 0-6 and bounced the Cardinal duo from the tournament.
Play begins Friday at 3 p.m. and continues Saturday at 10 a.m. with the top three finishers earning state berths in Yakima next week.
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.