Perseverance was the name of the game Friday for Mid-Columbia Conference tennis players at the 3A state championships.
Just two doubles teams and Kennewick’s Stephanie Buckingham are still alive in the competition, and all are vying for fifth/eighth place at 8:30 a.m. today.
In girls doubles, Southridge duo Sofia Morrison and Bailee Sanderson dropped their first match to Isabelle and Melissa Long of Interlake in three sets — 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
They rallied back to win their second match, a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Mariah Orcutt and Alyssa Sanford of Stanwood.
In their final match of the day against Amila Gogalija and Milla Benedetti of Mountain View, the Suns squandered a 5-2 lead in the first set, but settled in to win the match 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.
“They didn’t give up. They wanted to win as much as we did.” Morrison said. “They were good and athletic. In the first set, props to them for coming back. We thought we were done and they battled back.”
Southridge led 5-2 in the second set, but this time they didn’t let the set slip away. Leading 5-3 with Mountain View serving, the final game went to deuce twice before the Suns evened the match.
The third set was tied 2-2 and 3-3 before Morrison and Sanderson won the final three games.
Morrison, who struggled with her serve most of the day, made up for it with strong play at the net.
“We are better with Sofia at the net,” Sanderson said.
The Suns will play Ainsley Winterrowd and Sidney Smith of North Thurston today for fifth/eighth place.
Mercer Island’s Gabriella and Lydia Venditti, last year’s double champions, are in today’s semifinals against the Longs from Interlake.
The Kennewick team of Chad McKenzie and Jared Bolt will pick up a medal today, but it will depend on how they play against Peter Williams and Rafa Gonzalez-Posada of Mercer Island as to whether it will be fifth or eighth.
The Lions lost their opening match 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 to Lane Cooper and Ian David of Columbia River, but bounced back for a quick 6-3, 6-3 victory over Nick North and Emahd Khan of Shorecrest.
To stay alive, McKenzie and Bolt cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 win over Hayden Skidmore and Christian Lewis of Peninsula.
“We are very pleased,” said Bolt of advancing to a placing match. “I think we came out a little tense (in the first match) and they were consistent and hit the ball well. It was a good match overall.”
As the day went on, Bolt said they played better as a team.
“We are good friends and have had good chemistry from the start,” said Bolt, who will walk on at Harding University in the fall. “We played a lot looser and better at the net.”
And to finish in the top five today?
“We need to hold serve and be more aggressive at the net,” said McKenzie, who is headed to Spokane Falls Community College.
Buckingham, who is making her fourth appearance at state, is looking to improve on her seventh-place finish the last two years.
The Kennewick senior went three sets in her opening match with Jenny Adams of Liberty before losing 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.
Buckingham rebounded with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Nicki Bouche of Mountlake Terrace, then overcame leg cramps to beat Allie Barry of Peninsula 6-3, 6-2. She will play Lina Larson of Interlake for fifth/eighth.
Hanford sent the doubles team of Sean and Will Thompson to state, as well as singles players Cyrus Stephens and Darko Stankovic. All went 0-2 on the first day of action.
“The postseason starts now,” said Falcons coach Jim Wilson. “There are no weak players here. Everyone is good if they get to state. They have some tough players on the west side.”
As Stankovic, the 3A district and regional champion, found out.
He dropped his first match 6-2, 6-0 to Colton Weeldryer of Auburn Mountainview, then pushed Nishaant Limaye of Shorecrest for two games before bowing out 6-2, 6-3.
“Some of these guys are animals,” Stankovic said. “I wanted to play well today, but they were better. Most of the guys I have played this year weren’t as aggressive. These guys are consistent and run down everything.”
Southridge’s Ethan Ling also went 0-2, losing his first match 6-0, 6-0 to Wyatt DeMulling of Highline, who is in today’s semifinals against defending state champion Connor Garnett of Interlake.
The Kamiakin boys doubles team of Ben Welch and Matt Inman also finished 0-2, but put up a fight in their first match against Mountain View’s Colton Reed and Nick Shiraishi before losing 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-2.
The Bainbridge Island team of Keet Curtis and Ben DeVries made a return trip to the semifinals, but standing their way are Matt Seifert and Ben Elliott of Mercer Island. Seifert and Kyle Baska won last year’s double’s title.
Richland’s Zach Fisher and Trent Prussing seemed to be on track for a good weekend, but after winning their first doubles match, things went down hill.
Fisher and Prussing cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Andrew Ivelia and Jory Stickland of Snohomish in their opener, but come the quarterfinals they met their match in Matt Sham and Austin Gu of Newport.
The Bombers dropped into the consolation bracket with a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Sham and Gu. Sham was one half of last year’s championship team, along with Dylan Harlow.
“Gu is a really good player,” said Fisher, who will continue his tennis career at the University of Montana. “They controlled a lot of the net play. We moved well, but they executed better than we did today.”
In a position to finish as high as fourth, Fisher and Prussing suffered a 6-3, 7-5 setback to Wenatchee’s Cameron Mandellis and Lucas Tilly, ending their tournament run.
“I think the match before kind of carried into it,” Fisher said. “We were still kind of upset about that match. They were a good doubles team.
“It’s not the way I would have liked to have ended it. We had a lot of fans there today, it was great to see them all out there. It meant a lot. I had a great career and I had fun playing for Richland High.”
Chiawana’s Paul Chapuis, a French exchange student, had his first state tournament cut to one day.
After a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Patrick Chung of Cascade, Chapuis went three sets with Ryan Adams of Olympia before losing 6-1, 5-7, 6-0.
The Othello boys doubles team of Gabe Harris and Michael Carlton dropped their opening match to Travis Miller and Doug Doenges of Capital 6-0, 6-4 at the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle.
The Huskies stay in Seattle was cut short with a 6-4, 6-3 consolation loss to Gregory Arthur and Colby Savage of Clarkston.
In the girls singles, Prosser’s Daphne Reilly is in the running for fourth place.
Reilly won her first match, beating Kimberly Hoang of Renton 6-2, 7-6. She then dropped a 6-0, 6-0 match to Lauren Smith of Sehome to drop into the consolation bracket, where she had an evening match against Foster’s Eunica Serafica. The result was not available Friday night.
Othello’s Keestan Andersen went 0-2 on the day in singles, winning just two games along the way.
Connell’s Patrick Hadley finished 0-2 in boys singles at West Valley High School in Yakima.
Hadley dropped his opening match 6-0, 6-0 to Jack Katzman of University Prep, then lost a 6-1, 6-3 match to Eli Jenkins of Chelan.
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