Girls tennis takes fifth title

The plan going into last week’s 2A state girls tennis championship tournament was this for the South Whidbey Falcons: Have two doubles teams play each other in the final round, take first and second place in the doubles division, and win the state tournament.

Well, two out of three isn’t bad.

While the Falcon pairings of Chelsey Miller and Jenny Newman and Amy Vogt and Caitie Newman did not play an all-South Whidbey doubles championship match, they did meet each other in a third place-fifth place final and scored 14 combined team points to take the third state title for the Falcons in five years.

After playing a regular season in which good competition was hard to come by, the two pairings made a good accounting for themselves at the Yakima Tennis Club Friday and Saturday as each took first-round victories, challenged two of the best teams in the state in the second round, then hammered on each other in a consolation final.

“We never have competition like that in our area,” said Miller, who marveled this week at the ability of her and Jenny Newman’s second-round opponents from Pullman. “Everything we hit, they returned.”

Miller and Newman, both seniors, wound up taking third place in the tournament after spending over two hours battling against the Pullman pairing. After winning their opening-round match against a team from Othello in a marathon 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 squeaker, the two Falcons played most of the second round match at deuce as Pullman’s Webb and Hutchinson countered their every move.

One court over, Vogt and Caitie Newman had their hands full with the previous year’s state champs. Having opened their tournament with a grueling 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 match against Simmons and Smith of Cashmere, the Falcons’ No. 2 pairing earned a shot at the 2003 champs from Pullman, Funabiki and Small.

Vogt and Newman fell victim to a poor first-serve percentage in the first set, at one point committing four straight double faults to give away a game. They lost the set 2-6, but came back to tie the match in the second with a 6-2 win of their own.

But up 30-15 in the third game of a 1-1 third set, the Falcon pairing had their momentum broken when Funabiki and Small requested a line judge. It took 23 minutes to fill the request, enough time to cool Vogt’s and Newman’s push. They lost the final set 2-6.

“It seemed kinda contrived,” said South Whidbey coach Tom Kramer of the Pullman move.

In the final round, the two Falcon teams played each other as never before.

“It was a good match to watch,” Kramer said.

Vogt, who graduates off the team along with Miller and Jenny Newman, said she was happy to have one last match against her teammates.

“It was really close,” she said.

The Falcon girls now have five team state titles to their credit. Finishing in second place behind the Falcons at this year’s tournament were Pullman and Cascade.

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