Beating Overlake took a little longer than South Whidbey girls tennis wanted Monday.
The Falcons won both singles matches and its first and third doubles contests for a 4-1 victory over the Owls.
“It was a good opener for us,” said Falcon head coach Karyle Kramer. “All three doubles went to three sets, so we were fortunate to come away with a 4-1 team score.”
South Whidbey cruised through singles. Between Hayley Newman, a senior, and her sister Carlie, a sophomore, only one game was lost to the Owls in singles.
“Hayley and Carlie were not challenged and were both off the court before an hour,” Kramer said.
South Whidbey’s doubles teams, however, faced far more opposition from Overlake. The Falcons won more than enough to secure a team victory, 4-1, over the Owls. But South Whidbey earned its victory.
The top doubles team, juniors Amelia Weeks and Tess Radisch, needed three sets to defeat Claire Bond and Julia Robbins. Weeks and Radisch rallied from a disastrous second set to win 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.
“We work well together,” Weeks said. “One of the things that happened is we both got down, so we need to bring each other up and we’ll be OK if we do that.”
Bond and Robbins surged to a three-game edge in the second set. As the Owls’ top doubles team’s confidence surged, the Falcons frustrations mounted. Long lobs and low hits cost South Whidbey point after point, game after game. Then suddenly, Weeks and Radisch had their backs to the wall in a third set.
A quick meeting with Kramer lifted the Falcons’ spirits. And whatever words of encouragement, pep talk or strategy she gave her top duo, it worked almost to perfection. Weeks and Radisch won the first four games in the third set, and finished the match with veteran doubles play: serve strong, hit the ball deep and away from the net player and placement.
“Her strength at the net and mine on my forehand brought it together in the third set,” Radisch said.
South Whidbey’s third doubles team of Isla Dubendorf and Colleen Groce recovered from a second set defeat to win the third set in seven games. The Falcons’ third doubles team won 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 - Dubendorf’s first varsity victory - against Overlake’s Emily Daly and Becca Nelson.
“They both showed signs of staying calm under pressure; I was pleased with their composure,” Kramer said. “And they got more aggressive as the match went on.”
Losing the only match for South Whidbey was its second doubles team. Overlake’s Tammy Eydelman and Tania Archiniega overcame South Whidbey’s Hannah Calderwood and Katrina Layton, 6-3, 0-6, 7-5.
The singles matches were won in a hurry. Hayley Newman, whose season goal is to make the state 1A tennis tournament by playing more aggressively, relied on her placement and groundstrokes to overcome a shaky first serve against Mitali Karmarkar, 6-0, 6-1.
Her sister, Carlie, played a similar match of placement groundstrokes in a 6-0, 6-0 win against Serene Ahuja.