Eatonville Cruisers edge out Highline Pirate girls in tennis
By Gerardo Bolong
Outstanding weather conditions provided the backdrop for girls tennis on Mon., April 9, in Des Moines.
Capitalizing upon the short handed line up of the Highline girls tennis team, the visiting Eatonville Cruisers edged out the host Pirates 3-2 in SPSL 2A Sound Division action.
HHS fell to 4-2 in league and 4-3 overall while Eatonville rose to 4-0 and 5-1, respectively.
Although it was frustrating to be unable to field a full complement of a championship level team, Highline head coach Scott Babcock looked at the upside.
"It is, what it is," he said. "The end goal is post season, but the girls have a good attitude and are good to work with. They're lots of fun.
With a number of injuries and players missing on Spring Break, HHS put up a strong struggle but Eatonville put the first team victory on the board when Kate Shelbert defeated Nawaal Shego in two sets, 6-3, 6-0, at No.2 singles. Shelbert was just a notch stronger on the baseline to baseline rallies and wore down the Pirate athlete.
Chloe Watson and Hayley Beckham gave the Pirates a boost with a hard fought 6-3, 6-4, win against Brianna Trout and Sydney Waller in No. 1 doubles.
"My partner told me to hit into the allies because they were both moving into the middle," said Becham. "We also returned serves with the same idea for passing shots."
In No. 1 singles, Sadie Nokeo of Highline appeared to have matters under control with a 5-2 first set lead, but had her serve broken twice as Amber Frank rallied to take the set 7-5 before the Cruiser ace fired off a 6-3 second set win to shoot Eatonville ahead, 2-1.
The Pirate tandem of Chhy Chhy Yeak and Helen Hernandez stroked to a 6-4 first set win at No. 2 doubles before Tara Gacke and Maddie Fritts stormed the net for a 6-2 second set win. Adjusting their tactics the Highline duo finally pulled out a 7-5 third set victory to knot the matches at 2-2.
"They were hitting lots of net volleys in the second set, so Chhy Chhy started lobbing," said Hernandez.
The 2-2 deadlock was short-lived because in a few, short minutes Katie Foster and Petra Cole finished off a 6-0, 6-3, No. 3 doubles victory against Nouha Bencherfi and Chelsea Vorn to take the team win for Eatonville.