By Thorn Compton 

Niwot girls tennis downs Longmont


April 26, 2016

Photo by Ed Navarro Niwot tennis player Julia Pentz returns the ball at one singles.

Rolling into the week with a three match winning streak, the Niwot High School girls tennis team continued its winning ways against rival Longmont last Tuesday with a 5-2 victory.

The Cougars dominated almost every match, getting all of their wins in straight sets. In fact, between all three singles competitors they only dropped three games on the day.

Sophomore Julia Pentz continued her dominant form by sweeping her opponent 6-0, 6-0 at one singles. Sophomore Taylor Thulson returned to the court after missing their last meet with a 6-1, 6-0 win at two singles, and freshman Rachel Drake won her fourth straight match with a 6-1, 6-1 victory at three singles.

Niwot Head Coach Aimee Keronen said her team is peaking at the right time for the regional competition quickly approaching.

“I feel pretty good about their development, I think the girls are ready,” Keronen said after the match Tuesday. “Hopefully with a week of practices, especially for the doubles teams, we will be tough in regionals.”

The doubles side of the match had a little bit more drama than the singles, but the Cougars still showed very well against the Trojans.

The one doubles team of senior Emma Lerner and junior Amanda Duquette has been on fire lately, winning their fourth straight match 6-0, 6-1.

Longmont put up a better fight in the two doubles match against sophomores Erin O’Neill and Jewel Ng, but Niwot eventually won the first set 7-5 then swept the second set 6-0.

Keronen said being able to defeat a good Longmont doubles squad like this shows her team is in great form as of late.

“Longmont is always good in doubles, this was good for us heading into regionals,” Keronen said of her team’s performance.

Most of the drama on the evening came from the four doubles match, where freshmen Yui Ishikawa and Sreeya Kairamkonda made an epic comeback. After losing the first set 6-1, Ishikawa and Kairamkonda found themselves facing elimination in the second set down 5-2. They made a furious comeback, however, and won five straight games to win the set 7-5 and force a third set.

Unfortunately they were unable to finish off their opponents and dropped the third set, 10-7, but the fight they showed to force the third set shows this pair of freshmen have a bright future ahead of them.

After this match, the Cougars got a week break before starting on their last two official matches of the season, and Keronen said they will take the time to sure up everything before regionals start.

“We just need to work on our volleys and everyone needs to work on their serves,” Keronen said. “Luckily there isn’t much for us to correct, so we are just making sure everything is top notch.”

Niwot has its final two matches of the season this week with a home non-conference match against Valor Christian on Monday and an away conference match against Greeley Central to finish their season on Tuesday. The Cougars also have one final scrimmage against Colorado Academy in Denver April 27 before regionals start.

Longmont at Niwot

1 Singles: Julia Pentz, Niwot (So.) Def. Rebecca Eisele Longmont (Sr.) 6-0, 6-0.

2 Singles: Taylor Thulson, Niwot (So) Def. Longmont 2 Singles 6-1, 6-0.

3 Singles: Rachel Drake, Niwot (Fr.) Def. Taylor Merz Longmont (Fr.) 6-1, 6-1.

1 Doubles: Amanda Duquette (Jr.) & Emma Lerner (Sr.), Niwot Def. Miranda Aker (Jr.) & Trista Woelfle (Jr.), Longmont 6-0, 6-1.

2 Doubles: Erin O’Neill (So.) & Jewel Ng (So.), Niwot Def. Madi Jayne (So.) & Eva D’Epagnier (So.), Longmont 7-5, 60.

3 Doubles: Melanie Reeves (Sr.) & Kyra Foote (Sr.), Longmont Def. Katie Ziel (Sr.) & Sophie Vandenberghe (Jr.), Niwot 6-0, 6-1.

4 Doubles: Tanna Carson (Fr.) & Natalie Garcia (Sr.), Longmont Def. Yui Ishikawa (So.) & Sreeya Kairamkonda (Fr.), Niwot 6-1, 5-7, 10-7.


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