Radisch, Weeks pull off rally, secure top district seed

Breanna Gauger winds up for a forehand against Blaine in a doubles match April 25 at South Whidbey High School. She and partner Katrina Layton lost in three sets.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Breanna Gauger winds up for a forehand against Blaine in a doubles match April 25 at South Whidbey High School. She and partner Katrina Layton lost in three sets.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Playing on one of the first truly hot days and through illness, Tess Radisch fought off just enough rallies for her partner Amelia Weeks to close the set April 25.

The South Whidbey girls tennis team’s win over Blaine was big. Radisch and Weeks, the Falcons’ top doubles team, secured the top seed in the district tournament by beating Blaine’s Emily Grayston and Alex Henderson, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. More importantly, Falcon head coach Karyle Kramer said, they were pushed to their limits and came out on top.

“This was the best team they’ve played all season, so they really had to step it up and play their best tennis,” Kramer said. “And they did.”

Blaine’s squad was able to keep the ball away from the Falcons’ net player with lobs and crosscourt shots in the first set. It was the first dropped set of the season for Radisch and Weeks, who are not accustomed to playing from a deficit.

They regrouped in the second set and were able to fight off the Tigers in the third.

“Both Amelia and Tess showed clutch play throughout the last two sets,” Kramer said.

Their win, the last varsity match with the team score tied 2-2, gave South Whidbey the victory over Blaine.

South Whidbey’s other victories came from the singles matches. Senior Hayley Newman rolled against Blaine’s Saskia Dolk, 6-0, 6-1. Her sister, sophomore Carlie Newman, mirrored her with a 6-0, 6-1 victory against Blaine’s Elizabeth Berry.

South Whidbey had one other closely contested match at third doubles. Kramer continued to circulate players into the final varsity spot, this time with Breanna Gauger and Katrina Layton. After winning the first set 7-5, the Falcons fell to Blaine’s Mandy Hayes and Emily Roe in three sets, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

Blaine’s Alicia Allison and Shirin Roth-Lerner won the second doubles match against Falcon senior Hannah Calderwood and sophomore Isla Dubendorf, 6-1, 6-1.

First loss

Someone finally beat South Whidbey girls tennis.

It only took a 3A school like South Whidbey’s northern sibling Oak Harbor. The Wildcats won 4-3 on Tuesday.

South Whidbey’s first and second singles and top doubles team all won their matches and maintained perfect records.

“Our top two singles and top doubles won but we didn’t quite have the depth they had in order to win the overall match,” Kramer said.

Top singles senior Hayley Newman beat Makenzie Perry, 6-2, 6-0. Sophomore Carlie Newman won the second singles battle against Chelsea Atkinson, 6-0, 6-0.

Doubles stalwarts Radisch and Weeks continued their season-long partnership by defeating Oak Harbor’s Chelsea Admire and Jamie Estrella, 6-0, 6-1.

Playing up two classifications, South Whidbey fielded two additional singles players for the varsity score. Playing in her second Falcon varsity singles match this season, Layton lost to Faith Franssen, 6-2, 6-1. South Whidbey’s Sophie Nilsen lost the fourth singles match to Brittany Rigby, 6-3, 6-0.

The Falcons changed their second and third doubles lineups. Normally Calderwood and Dubendorf defend the second doubles spot for South Whidbey. Calderwood missed the match while visiting colleges. That bumped Gauger to fill the void, though their first-set effort fell short in a 7-3 tiebreaker. Oak Harbor’s Zena Husler and Alyssa Eden won 7-6, 6-1.

Third doubles saw the return of Colleen Groce to the varsity lineup with Katherine Read. They lost after a contested first set, 7-5, 6-1.

“Both second and third doubles teams had a really close first set then both had a letdown at the beginning of the second set and couldn’t stay in the match,” Kramer said. “That’s called inexperience.”

“So I hope those players learn from it and become stronger in that area in the future.”

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