Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Niwot cruises to seventh straight win


April 25, 2018

Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Senior Taylor Thulson at No. 2 singles against Greeley Central on April 19.

In the seven matches since their narrow 4-3 loss to defending Class 4A champion Cheyenne Mountain on March 17, the Niwot girls tennis team has been nearly untouchable. Led by a stacked singles lineup, the Cougars posted wins in 48 of 49 individual matches for six consecutive shutouts. Heading into the final week of the regular season, head coach Aimee Keronen said her team is ready for another deep run in the postseason.

“They’re gelling more and more,” Keronen said at her team’s road match against Greeley Central on April 19. “We just keep getting better and better with each match we play.”

Niwot beat the Wildcats 7-0 to clinch a seventh consecutive win and improve to 10-1 on the year. Senior Julia Pentz extended her unbeaten streak to 11 matches with a 6-0, 6-1 win over junior Rhiannen Thero, and remains one of just two Class 4A No. 3 singles players without a loss. At No. 2, Taylor Thulson picked up her tenth win of the year, while freshman Lucy Lu improved to 9-1 on the year at No. 1.

“She’s been getting more used to the high school thing of representing your team versus just yourself,” Keronen said of the ninth-grader, who is ranked second overall in Colorado by the USTA. “I think she’s liking it, and she’s definitely ready for state.”

Niwot’s doubles teams have also been impressive this season, with just three losses between them. Sophomore Annie Heinritz has ten wins for the Cougars at No. 4 doubles, seven of them with freshman partner Emily Creek, who also played matches at No. 2 doubles. At No. 1, Rachel Drake and Tehnley White won their seventh straight match at Greeley Central, as did Maedee Trank-Greene and Catherine Xiao at No. 3.

Senior Erin O’Neill has 10 wins at two doubles this season, eight of those with sophomore partner Lily Seiben. O’Neill, who hopes to continue her tennis career at Colorado Mesa next year, said her final season for the Cougars has been especially gratifying.

“I really like my doubles partner this year,” she said. “We both pump each other up when we need to, but we don’t stress about it overly. She’s probably been one of the best doubles partners I’ve ever had.”

O’Neill cites last year’s fourth-place finish at the Class 4A tournament as a favorite Niwot tennis memory, and she is eager for a return trip to Pueblo this year and a potential rematch against top contenders Cheyenne Mountain. She and Sieben beat the Indians’ two doubles pair of Emma Delitch & Sydney Wagner 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) in the March 17 loss.

“Cheyenne Mountain has won it the most times,” she said. “But we beat them during season, so hopefully we can beat them again.”

The Cougars wrap up their season at Dawson School on April 27. Niwot hosts the Class 4A Region 5 tournament at the Quail Tennis Courts on May 2-3.

4/12 — Niwot 7, Longmont 0

Singles — 1. Lucy Lu def. Rebecca Pavot (6-0, 6-0); 2. Taylor Thulson def. Amber Weston (6-1, 6-0); 3. Julia Pentz def. Taylor Merz (6-0, 6-0)

Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Sophomore Lily Seiben hits a return shot against Greeley Central on April 19.

Doubles — 1. Rachel Drake & Tehnley White def. Eva D’Epagnier & Mady Jayne (6-4, 6-2); 2. Lily Sieben & Erin O'Neill def. Tanna Carson & Felicia Archuleta (6-3, 7-5); 3.. Maedee Trank-Greene & Catherine Xiao def. Ana McConahy (6-0, 6-0); Emily Creek & Annie Heinritz def. Kallie Westmoreland & Jesse Bartel (6-1, 6-2)

4/19 — Niwot 7, Greeley Central 0

Singles — 1. Lucy Lu def. Gianna Uyemura (6-0, 6-0); 2. Taylor Thulson def. Alyssa Joseph (6-1, 6-0); 3. Julia Pentz def. Rhiannen Thero (6-0, 6-1)

Doubles — 1. Rachel Drake & Tehnley White def. Auralia Bloomer & Baylee Brems (6-1, 6-1); 2. Lily Sieben & Erin O'Neill def. Julisa Miranda Chavez & Stacy Soto (6-0, 6-0); 3.. Maedee Trank-Greene & Catherine Xiao def. Anayeli Loma De La Cruz & Joslin Archuleta (6-1, 6-0); Emily Creek & Annie Heinritz def. Aneliz Juarez & Mikaela Matier (6-0, 6-0)


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