Print Girls need support from young rackets
Written by George Werner   
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 11:32

Mingus Union High School’s senior-laden girls tennis team is feeding off the energy of its younger players to lift the Marauders above a 1-2 start.

Senior Carol Curran serves during her singles match at Mingus Union High School. Curran fell in the third set tiebreaker to Northwest Christian High School on Monday, March 24, as the Marauders fell 5-4 to the Crusaders at home.
Sophomore Abii Almanza won her first varsity match in place of senior Jordan Scalf, limited to doubles play with fellow senior Lauren Nevitt while recovering from wisdom tooth extraction surgery, but it was just short of team victory Monday, March 24, as the Marauders lost 5-4 at home to Northwest Christian High School [2-2].

“Jordan couldn’t practice the last two-and-a-half weeks,” Marauders head girls tennis coach Andrea Meyer said. “I mean, she was out. We were still tied 3-3 at the end of singles play.”

Almanza’s 6-4, 6-4 victory over Crusaders junior Sarah Meyers helped counter losses in straight sets by seniors Courtnee Warner and No. 1 Bethany Hickey, who Meyer said was “just overwhelmed” by junior Abbie Denney, the Division III singles state runner-up last spring for Northwest Christian.

“She’s just a very skilled, fierce opponent,” Meyer said. “Nobody in the league beats this girl. She just banged the ball.”

Nevitt and fellow senior Hope Heath also claimed singles victory, with Nevitt overcoming a 6-2 deficit after the first set to win the second set, 6-1, and edge Crusaders senior Hawley Helmbrect 11-9 in the tiebreaker.

“They just slipped by us,” Meyer said, and that came in the matchup of each school’s No. 2 doubles teams – Scalf and Nevitt versus Helmbrect and fellow senior Victoria Zobott, 6-3, 6-2 singles loser to Heath, who had already won her No. 3 doubles match with Warner 8-3.

“The No. 3 doubles team really played well,” Meyer said. “Courtnee was speedy, getting defensive shots low at the net [and] moving well at the net.”

Hickey and senior Carol Curran – defeated by junior Raquel Hamstra via tiebreaker, 4-6, 6-3, 10-1 – had already been shut out in their No. 1 doubles match, meaning the pressure to win was squarely on Scalf and her partner, the last ones of the day to finish.

“I have no fault to find with the No. 2 doubles team,” Meyer said. “The deciding doubles match easily could’ve gone either way. It was a real squeaker.”

In the end, though, the lack of practice caught up with Scalf and the Marauders, who lost the match 8-6 to a Crusaders program that claimed its 15th team victory in 18 tries dating back to the beginning of its undefeated 2013 regular season.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, March 26, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.