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Mission’s Ahlborn wins divisional tennis title

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EUREKA — The Mission Lady Bulldog tennis players traveled to divisionals in Eureka last weekend, finishing the tourney just five points shy of first-place Bigfork.

Briar Ahlborn won divisionals in singles; Kayla Billette took third; and Cierra Dougherty took sixth. All three advance to state this week.

“We had a great weekend together and really bonded as a team. I’m very excited to be having the same girls come back next year,” head coach Sara Ison said. “Our singles girls really dominated the whole tournament and they are only going to be stronger next year.”

According to Ison, Daisie VandenBos nearly took out Troy’s No. 1 singles player in her first round. 

“During the second set, Daisie just started to lose wind and got tired very fast in the heat. It was hard to adjust from cool weather to 80-degree weather,” Ison noted. “Nonetheless, she still played her heart out and gave it everything she had. She came so incredibly close to pushing it to a third set, but her fatigue got the best of her.”  

VandenBos won two more matches before playing her fourth of the day against Bigfork’s Mariah Bradstreet. 

Ison was also proud of Billette’s performance, as she had been struggling during the regular season. With Ison’s instructions “to stop thinking so much and just go out there and play and hit that ball,” everything else fell into place.  

“I’m really happy for her and it was good to see the old Kayla come back out,” Ison said. 

In her second round, Dougherty faced Eureka’s Kathryn Stein — “the only person who could have interfered with her making it to the championship,” Ison noted.

“We both wanted that win so badly but it just didn’t work out that way,” Ison explained. “(Dougherty) has still come a long way as a player and played tough. In the end we take away the positive that she is going to State and still has another year of tennis and another chance to make it to the finals next year.”

As for Ahlborn’s first-place finish, “It was a very good win for Briar and she earned every bit of it,” Ison said. “She worked her tail off and played very smart. I’m looking forward to seeing what these three girls can do at state.”

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