ST. GEORGE – Driven inside by Tuesday’s inclement weather, the Dixie and Hurricane girls tennis teams took a bit longer to get going than eventually planned. Once things got going though, the Flyers didn’t look back, picking up a 4-1 victory over the Tigers.
“We’ve had so much rain this fall, every day we show up to practice or a match and we don’t know if we’re going to play, so it’s nice to see the girls get themselves prepared and come out and try their hardest. It’s a good win for us.”
With only one court initially open at the Green Valley complex where the Flyers host their home matches, the first singles duo of Kenedi Cooper and Savannah Topham got things off to a fast start. The pair topped Hurricane’s June Jennings and Brianne Cahoon, 6-0, 6-1.
Once the rest of the courts opened up, the Flyers continued to roll with the second doubles team of Rachel Barney and Kelli Stovall taking out Kath Cram and Holland Steglich, 6-0, 6-1.
While Dixie’s doubles teams rolled with relative ease, the singles players — with the exception of third singles player Annie Aldrich — found the going much harder.
Making her first official start as the Flyers’ first singles player, junior Jaylee Watson tallied a 6-3, 6-3 win over Hurricane’s Heidi Fawson. Each set began with the players trading wins and was knotted at 3-3 at the midway point. That’s when Watson took over.
“I feel like we were closely matched up,” Watson said of playing against Fawson. “She had some pretty good shots that I couldn’t get back, but I gave her some shots. I feel like since we were pretty close that it was a good rally for most of the points.”
Watson ended each both sets by winning the final three games to lock up her first official varsity win.
“She’s a very hard worker, and is willing to pretty much play anywhere you tell her to play,” Christensen said of Watson. “It was good to see her come out and try and win the last three games in each set with a little bit of purpose.”
As exciting as the first singles match was though, it was the second singles battle that was the most tightly contested of the day. It was also the Tigers’ lone win in the match, as Stefani Stratton topped Rylee Stewart, 6-2, 7-5.
After leading 5-3, Stratton was one hit away from falling into a 6-5 hole as Stewart battled back. Furious rally after furious rally ensued, as each of the final three games went to deuce. Finally, Stratton got Stewart to fly one long over the back line, securing the match.
“There’s no one I love playing better,” Stratton said of Stewart. “She just always hits it back really consistent; she has really, really incredible aim. I just love playing her. It’s a real challenge. There’s a lot of times I did not think I would get the point … she’s a really phenomenal player.”
Earlier this season, the pair engaged in a three-set, three and a half hour marathon match, with Stewart coming out on top in that one.
“Anytime we can (win a match) against one of the St. George schools, it’s a confidence builder,” Tiger head coach Marc Manuele said. “We’re a very young team … when we pick up a win like that, it will just help us get further.”
Region play continues for both teams Thursday, with Dixie traveling to Cedar and Hurricane hosting Pine View. Both matches are schedule for 4 p.m.
THUNDER 5, REDMEN 0
Desert Hills traveled to Cedar Tuesday and swept the Lady Reds, 5-0, just getting in the match before rain hit the area. First and third singles were the most tightly contested, as Madz Eames topped Mallory Ragsdale, 6-3, 6-2, in first singles and Olivia Shakespeare defeated Alyssa Olsen, 6-3, 6-2 in third singles.
Lily Hemenway topped Karina Marchant, 6-2, 6-1 at second singles, while both Desert Hills doubles teams won by a 6-0, 6-1 count.
WARRIORS 5, FALCONS 0
Snow Canyon’s Sarah Waddoups battled through a tough first set at third singles against Canyon View’s Megan Delaegle, 7-6 (7-0) and then cruised in the second set, 6-1, as the Warriors rolled to a 5-0 team victory at the Green Valley tennis complex in a match that was moved to the evening due to the weather.
In first singles, Francessca Eklund kept things rolling with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Karina Ashdown, while Amanda Lindsey topped Sydney Whittaker in second singles, 6-3, 6-1.
“All the girls did really well compared to the first time they played,” SC head coach Duane Schwalger said. “That was a tough one for Sarah, but she managed to pull it off. Overall our girls did pretty well.”
In first doubles action the SC duo of Talleigh Frazier and Brielle Nielsen topped Kelina Talbot and Jessica Cunningham, 6-2, 6-0. In second doubles, Charlotte Apple and Dusti Tereira downed the Falcons’ Madi Sahagun and Leilani Johnson, 6-1, 6–2.
Follow Tim Olsen on Twitter, @TheRealTO.