Mission tennis team getting ready for playoff run
ST. IGNATIUS — The Mission tennis coach was able to find the silver lining in the dark storm clouds this weekend.
In the Lady Bulldogs’ 5-1 loss to Eureka in St. Ignatius Saturday, the only Lady Bulldogs to pick up a win was the new number one doubles team of Sarah Bowers and Becky Hiatt, a team that Mission coach Kimmi Ashley said has potential to contend for a divisional title. Ashley also said that the Bulldogs’ 6-0 loss to the Class A Blue Devils in Corvallis Saturday will only make them stronger as they prepare for their run to state.
Hiatt, a senior and Bowers, a sophomore, defeated Lady Lions S. Stein and S. Taurman in convincing fashion, 6-3, 6-0. The two were also leading Loyola’s Vanessa Grossman and Rebecca Nielsen 4-2, Tuesday, April 27 before the match was rained out — Mission was down 3-0 when the match was called.
“Both Sarah and Becky were struggling a bit with the singles. It’s hard when you are struggling and you are out there by yourself. Now, they have a partner to lift them up and communicate with,” Ashley said.
Bowers, who was Mission’s number one singles player entering last week, is no stranger to playing doubles and making a late run for a divisional crown. Last year, after playing singles for most the season, Bowers teamed up with Anna Fehrs late in the year and won the division. Ashley said it’s easy for Bowers to make the switch to doubles.
“Sarah likes playing doubles. She likes the social aspect of it and likes owning the net,” Ashley said.
Both Bowers and Hiatt like playing the net. Ashley said they also communicate well with each other and both hate to lose.
While the Lady Bulldogs’ doubles game looked strong last week, their single players struggled a bit – the Lady Bulldogs were 0-7 in singles matches last week.
“There are a couple of girls that are getting close each time they play. They need more sets played during practices, but the weather just hasn’t been cooperating,” Ashley said. “There is a difference between doing drills, having practices indoors and playing live sets so you are match tough,” she added.
With the state tournament fast approaching Ashley wants them to really focus on their shot selection and being more aggressive in ending points.
After going 2-0 last week after coming back from an ankle injury, Mission’s number one singles player Jane Makepeace lost two tough matches. Makepeace lost 10-8 to Loyola’s Brooke Sauro and 7-5, 6-2 to Eureka’s Casey Armstrong.
“Jane needs to learn to end points earlier. In order to do that, she needs to work on keeping her feet moving and taking that extra step to get to the ball,” Ashley said.
After leading Loyola 3-2 before the match was rained out Tuesday, the Bulldogs traveled to Corvallis Saturday and didn’t win a game against the Blue Devils – Xavier Streets, the number three singles player, came close, but loss the tiebreaker 8-6.
Ashley said playing a team like Corvallis, who play year round on indoor courts and have been mowing down their Class A opponents, was good for the Bulldogs because it exposed their flaws and showed them what they need to work on. One flaw that was exposed Saturday was their footwork.
“The first thing that will go when you play a tough opponent is your serve and your footwork. The boys’ footwork slowed down against Corvallis and I would like just the opposite to happen,” Ashley said. “When they meet someone tough, I want to see their footwork double and see a competitive fire be lit within them, a kind of bring it on and show me what you got thing. Even if you know that they’re probably going to beat you, give them every ounce of what you got.”
In his first week playing singles this year, Streets has impressed Ashley. Streets lost to Loyola’s Jonathon Finch 10-8 and Corvallis’ Luke Lagergist 7-6 (8-6), 7-5.
“Xavier has stepped up to the plate the past couple of weeks. He has the fire in his belly and is looking forward to state,” Ashley said. She is not sure if Streets will play singles or doubles at the state tournament.
Spencer Ahlborn, Wesley Knowlan and Brian Schock all picked up wins against Loyola.
Ahlborn defeated Cade Cross 13-11, Knowlen handled Erich Dieziger 10-3 and Schock cruised past Cameron Rip-Sikora 10-1.
“The boys as a whole need to step it up a notch the second time around in playing conference teams,” Ashley said. “We tied them all the first time around, but our lineup should be confirme by then, in regards to what we will be taking to state, so I am looking for them to step on the courts mentally and skillfully tough. Nothing less will do at this time of the season.”
The Bulldogs play at Valley Christian Thursday, host Troy Friday and Loyola Saturday. The Lady Bulldogs will play at the Best of the West Tournament Saturday at the University of Montana and Playfair courts.
Mission 3, Loyola 2 (rained out)
Singles - Spencer Ahlborn, M, def. Cade Cross, 13-1; Wesley Kowlan, M, def. Erich Dieziger 10-3; Jonathan Finch, L, def. Xavier Streets 10-8; Brian Schock, M, def. Cameron Rip-Sikora 10-1;
Doubles - Paul Heffernan/Tobin Blome, L, def. Trail Bundy/Nikko Alexander 10-1; #2 - forfeit (rained out)
Corvallis 6, Mission 0
Singles - Levi Pauley, C, def. Spencer Ahlborn, 6-2, 6-2; Spencer Fehr, C, def. Wesley Knowlan, 6-1, 6-0; Luke Lagerguist ,C, def. Xavier Streets, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5; Tim Allsop, C, def. Brian Schock, 6-2, 6-2;
Doubles - D.Murray/L.Allsop, C, def. N.Alexander/T.Bundy, 6-0, 6-0; C.Lengul/B.Wakzynski, C, def. K. Schock/P. Alexander 6-0, 6-1.
Loyola 3, Mission 0 (rained out)
Singles - Brooke Sauro ,L, def. Jane Makepeace 10-8; Whitney Gilbert, L, def. Jenny Dillard,10-2; Kelly Eppard ,L, def. Rachel Jensen, 10-5; Made Dawald, L, vs. Morgan Andres rained out at 7-5;
Doubles - Becky Hiatt/Sarah Bowers ,M, vs. Vanessa Grossman/Rebecca Nielsen, rained out at 4-2; #2 - forfeit (rained out)
Eureka 5, Mission 1
Singles - Casey Armstrong, E, def. Jane Makepeace, 7-5, 6-2; Karina Hofstee, E, def. Jenny Dillard, 6-2, 6-1; Angela Bailey,E, def. Rachel Jensen, 3-6, 6-4, 10-5; Veda Henion, E, def. Morgan Andres, 6-1, 6-0
Doubles - S.Bowers/B.Hiatt, M, def. S.Stein/S.Taurman, 6-3, 6-0; M.Jones-Flagettt/S.Taurman, E, def. A.Guinnee/K.Hvorost ,M, 6-2, 6-2.