Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jeremy Jaeger

NHS girls tennis continues strong play


April 19, 2017

Photo by Ed Navarro Niwot’s Rachel Drake readies to return a ball during a match last week.

The Niwot girls tennis team keeps setting them up and knocking them all down. The Cougars played four matches in five days, three of those on the road, and finished up the week’s play with a dominant total line of 26 wins against only 2 losses.

On Monday April 10 and Tuesday April 11, at Centaurus and Mountain View, respectively, the Cougars steamrolled their way to consecutive 7-0 victories, losing only 11 games total in the process.

After a day off, Niwot traveled just down the road to match-up with rival Longmont.

The Trojans put up a fight, but the end result was the same, another 7-0 Niwot victory, with the Cougars displaying a measure of resilience and fortitude along the way.

Taylor Thulson at number one singles, Erin O’Neill and Amanda Duquette at number two doubles, and Yui Ishikawa and Maedee Trank-Greene at number four doubles all began their respective matches with 6-1 opening set victories, only to drop close second sets (by scores of 6-7, 6-7 and 5-7, respectively), before finally rallying to finish things off (by third set scores of 6-0, 6-4 and 1-0).

The week’s final match, at home against Pueblo West on Friday, saw the Cougars’ only two losses of the week. The number one doubles team was hamstrung by the absence of Tehnley White. Sreeya Kairamkonda, seeing her first varsity action of season, paired with Jewel Ng, and the duo put up a surprising fight, losing a close three-setter (1-6, 6-4, 6-4).

At number one singles Taylor Thulson went toe-to-toe with last year’s state runner-up, Sara Schoenbeck, losing in three sets (4-6, 6-2, 6-4). Down a break at 5-3 in the third, Thulson showed mettle by breaking back to 5-4, only to succumb in the final game to the hard-hitting and patient Schoenbeck.

Friday’s highlight came in the day’s final match, the number four doubles. After taking the first set with relative ease by a score of 6-2, Ishikawa and Trank-Greene found themselves down 2-5 in the second. Trank-Greene said the duo had a quick conversation between themselves during the changeover at that point, in which they recognized having fallen into a recent pattern--strong first sets, followed by inconsistent play in second sets--and what they needed to do to fix it.

Essentially they were just trying too hard, said Trank-Greene, “So instead of just trying to kill the ball, we focused on making the safe shots, and forcing them to try and win it.” The re-focusing enabled the duo to reel off a 6-game winning streak, taking the second set 7-5.

Niwot finishes off the regular season with home matches on Monday, April 17 against Northridge and Thursday, April 20 against Greeley Central before moving on to regionals in the first week of May.


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