Doubles tennis is a complex sport. You have to be able to check your ego at the door and put your teammate ahead of yourself.
Southridge’s top duo of Sarah Morgan and Sofia Morrison have that symbiotic relationship, and the proof is in the pudding — so the saying goes — as they enter Saturday’s 3A regional tournament at Kennewick High School with a 19-0 record.
“They are selfless people,” Southridge coach Chuck Hamaker-Teals said. “Both work with charities and are active in their churches. They would rather provide their partner with the winning shot than take it themselves. They are team players in every sense of the word. They make the team stronger and a more fun unit through their leadership.”
Morgan, a senior, and Morrison, a junior, cruised through their three matches at district last week to roll into regionals as the top seed. They need to win just one match to move on to state.
“We had a hard (district) tournament in that we were playing against our friends,” said Morgan, who noted that the Suns went 1-2-3 at district, but only two teams advanced. “We are excited. This is our second time to regionals. We were third last year, and that gave us a tough draw at state. We lost to the eventual champions in our first match and had to work our way back to finish fifth.”
Morgan and Morrison will face Nesha Howard and Madeline Ritter of Shadle Park in their opening match Saturday. A win and they are done and packing their tennis bags for state, which is just right down the road at Kamiakin High School.
A loss to the Spokane team, and Morgan and Morrison will play the winner of the second match for the second berth to state. In that match is the Southridge pair of Bailee Sanderson and Shyler Sullivan, who will play Mount Spokane’s Julia Brim and Leah Wurst.
“Hopefully, we will have two teams at state,” said Morrison, who went to state in doubles with Sanderson her freshman year.In fact, Morrison and Sanderson beat Morgan and Priscilla Cancado two years ago at regionals.
“You have to find it in yourself to be happy for your teammates,” Morgan said. “You learn to come out of that as a better athlete and person. I’m happy now that she’s slamming balls with me instead of against me.”
During the regular season, Morgan and Morrison played singles with some success, but doubles is where they shine.Morgan is a lefty and Morrison is right-handed, making them a dangerous pair.
“That really works well for us,” Morgan said. “Having forehands down the middle that either of us can take as an overhead is an advantage.”
Other aspects of their game have parlayed into success as well.
“We are strong when we are both at the net,” Morrison said. “We finish points quickly. We have a big serve and then we finish at the net.”
Added Morgan, “We can tell where we are on the court at all times. “We have a connection.”
Not exactly the team you want to run into this time of year.
“They are ferocious,” Hamaker-Teals said. “You don’t want to be on their side of the bracket. They are going to seize the moment. All the hard work this year comes down to the next two weeks.”