By Rongi Yost
Correspondent 

Lady Outlaws place third at District

 

Last updated 5/18/2022 at Noon



The Lady Outlaws took third place at the District tennis Tournament, which was held on Monday, May 9 in Madras, and then on Thursday and Friday, May 12-13 at the Salem Swim and tennis Club.

Sisters started out well on the first round of Districts on Monday, and advanced 10 players into the second day of play.

In singles play, Juhree Kizziar advanced on a bye. Brooke Harper defeated Ava Shibahara of Estacada 6-0, 6-1 in the first round. Harper’s ground strokes were consistent, and her serves and coverage of the court were more effective than Shibahara’s. Harper moved her opponent all over the court and made it difficult for her to get to the ball.

Oly Thorson had to play a pigtail play-in and defeated Kayden Harris from Molalla in a 8-3 pro set. Thorson went into the main draw and her consistency and good ground strokes were the key in her 6-0, 6-0 win over Cecilia Rodriguez of North Marion.

Maddie Pollard had to play Estacada’s No. 1 singles player, Gracie Jossi, in a pigtail eight-game pro set and lost 4-8. Pollard went into consolation and beat Mitchell of Madras 4-8. Pollard’s match against Mitchell was a challenge and Maddie fought hard and found a way to win.

Doubles duo Jenna Kizziar and Josie Patton lost 6-4, 0-6, 0-3 in round one to North Marion’s Lader and Dias. They went into consolation play and beat Romero and Sedano of Madras 8-8 (7-5) in a very close match. The combo found themselves down 3-5 and came back to tie it at 8-8 and force the tiebreaker.

“Jenna and Josie were losing the pro set in consolation and were down 3-5 and close to being eliminated from the tournament,” said Coach Bruce Fenn. “The team literally lifted Jenna and Josie from sure elimination, by all team members cheering them on to victory. That moment, watching these young girls support their friends, makes coaching worth it.”

Laney Mansfield and Leah O’Hern lost to Durski and Scholl of Philomath 1-6, 1-6 in round one and also went into the consolation bracket. They defeated Dias and Christensen of North Marion 8-4 with good shots, and won points that counted.

Lindsay Scott and Charlotte Seymour fell 0-6, 2-6 to the experienced team of Bacho and Dodson of Philomath. In consolation Scott and Seymour defeated North Marion’s Mariscal and Navaro 8-4 with their positive and energetic play.

Adrianna Luna and Sophie Rush were unfortunately eliminated on the first day due to a 0-6, 0-6 loss to Coleman and Federico of Cascade, and a 2-8 pro set loss to Workman and Neville of Philomath in consolation.

Coach Bruce Fenn said, “The draw wasn’t kind to Luna and Rush, but their dual match record for the season was excellent and they finished with eight wins.”

Ten players advanced and played in Salem on Thursday and Friday.

In Thursday’s action, Juhree Kizziar defeated Danny Carlisle 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. Kizziar played a very consistent match and handled Carlisle’s powerful ground strokes very well. In the semifinals on Friday, Kizziar defeated Laina Atiyeh of Stayton 6-3, 6-2.

Fenn said, “Atiyeh played the best match I’ve seen her play. She served a big, powerful first serve really well, and was able to change the pace of the ball to slow and fast. That gave Juhree some difficulty, so Juhree changed her play from aggressive to a more defensive style of play. That worked to her advantage and she pulled off the win.”

Kizziar advanced to the championship match, and lost to Bailey Bell, the returning District Champ, in a final score of 0–6, 1-6.

“Despite the loss, that was the best tennis I’ve seen Juhree play all year,” said Fenn. “Every game was 40-40; really close, but Juhree just couldn’t close them out. Even though the games were close, Juhree returned well and her ground strokes were beautiful. It was a wonderful match to watch.”

Her second-place finish punched her ticket to the state tournament, which will be held Friday and Saturday, May 20 and 21, at Oregon State University.

Maddie Pollard, in consolation singles, beat Woodburn’s Perez 8-5, and went on to defeat Audrey Ritchie 6-0, 6-0 in the semis. Pollard moved Ritchie around the court and the spin on her shots was difficult for Ritchie to handle.

On Friday, Pollard beat Megan Reese 6-1, 6-0 in the finals, and was crowned the consolation champion.

Fenn said, “Maddie improved her game as she went along. Each match she got stronger and stronger, and gained more confidence as the matches went along. Maddie showed great composure, competitiveness, and smarts on the tennis court. She’s a natural on how to play points in a tennis game, and she earned valuable points for our third-place finish.”

Brooke Harper won her first match (round of 16) on Thursday with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Candence Miller of Madras. The first set was very close, and Miller proved to be a scrappy opponent. Harper dominated play in every facet of the game in the second set for an easy win. In the quarterfinals, Harper fell 0-6, 0-6 to Laina Atiyeh of Stayton.

Fenn said, “Atiyeh hit the ball with more pace and had good serves that were difficult for Brooke to handle.”

Oly Thorson lost 0-6, 0-6 to Bailey Bell, the returning district champ, who was too much for first-year Thorson to handle.

All doubles play for Thursday was cancelled due to weather and all matches were played on Friday.

Laney Mansfield and Leah O’Hern defeated Roundtree and Langendorfer of Molalla in an 8-4 pro set, and went on to defeat Lopez and Campos of Woodburn 8-4. Mansfield and O’ Hern were consistent, attacked the ball, and communicated well. In the quarterfinals, the combo got beat 1-8 by Sola and Hall.

Fenn said, “Laney and Leah learned to communicate better with each other, and the experience they gained from the matches will help them in the future.”

Lindsay Scott and Charlotte Seymour lost 1-8 to Sola and Hall of North Marion, and were eliminated, but stayed positive and enthusiastic for the team.

Coach Bruce Fenn said, “At the beginning of the year we wanted to see how the team would come together and progress as a team. We found out at District that we progressed in our doubles teams in playing positions on the court, and better communication and general overall stroking abilities, and also improved our volleys.

“The team came together with enthusiasm and support for each other,” added Fenn. “It was exciting to see the girls become better tennis players and very good sportsmen. It was a fun year and I’m looking forward to more tennis this summer. I’m so proud of what they were able to accomplish, and proud of how they stayed positive through the cold weather, the rain-outs, and cancelled matches. It would have been easy to become discouraged and frustrated, but they didn’t. They stuck together as a team.”

 

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