It was teammates facing teammates Wednesday afternoon during the girls tennis 1A District 1 tournament at South Whidbey High School. Fortunately for the Falcons, they were playing against one another in the final matches of the singles and doubles brackets.
The Falcons, 11-1 overall and 7-1 in the Cascade Conference, continued its strong season by qualifying all six of its players to the bi-district girls tennis tournament May 17 at Amy Yee Tennis Center in Seattle. South Whidbey won the district title on May 11, while King’s and Friday Harbor placed second and third, respectively.
The Falcons’ top doubles team, junior Bayley Gochanour and freshman Mary Zisette, won the district title with a 6-1, 6-0 win over teammates Iona Rohan and Clara Martin. Falcon senior Macey Bishop, seeded fourth, won the singles bracket over South Whidbey senior Anna Lynch 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 in a four-hour long marathon match. Lynch was seeded second.
After winning her first round match 6-0, 6-2 over Friday Harbor’s Morgan Timmons, Bishop faced a familiar foe in the semifinals in top-seeded Abby Jenkins of King’s. Bishop had lost to Jenkins in three sets when the Falcons played the Knights May 5. But, thanks to an ensemble of family and friends watching the match nearby, Bishop was able to overcome Jenkins when it mattered most, winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
“Everybody was like, ‘Come on Macey, you have nothing to lose,” Bishop said. “I think I had so much support. My parents are here, all my friends, everyone was cheering me on, and my whole team is moving on, so I was like, ‘If I win this, I get to go with them.”
Though tennis etiquette typically entails spectators clapping and adding words of encouragement, Wednesday was different. Over two dozen students, parents and friends lined the school parking lot roadway adjacent to the tennis courts.
It was both Bishop and Lynch’s first berth to the bi-district tournament.
Gochanour earned her second consecutive doubles title Wednesday, after winning it in 2015 alongside Isla Dubendorf. Gochanour was the Falcons’ top singles player for most the season until some research showed she and Zisette would have a better chance of qualifying for state as a pair. Though the final score of the finals match was seemingly in favor of Gochanour and Zisette, it was anything but. Each point was contested, Gochanour said, but one side eventually caved.
“We came into this knowing that it was going to be a tough one,” Gochanour said. “We’ve played them in practice quite a few times and it’s been one way or another.”
“I think we communicated really well. I think that in our heads we knew we had to stay really focused to beat them,” she added.
Falcon head coach Karyle Kramer was pleased that all six of the Falcons are advancing to the bi-district tournament. She was especially impressed with Bishop’s win considering the circumstances of having lost her previous match against Jenkins.
“It was really just guts,” Kramer said. “They’re so evenly matched and it’s hot weather, they’re both tired.”
“That was a really solid win for Macey.”
Kramer expected the Falcon doubles teams would reach the finals, though she didn’t know how the match would turn out. Overall, the Falcons’ 11 wins are the most in Kramer’s six years leading the program.
“It’s been a really good season,” Kramer said. “We know the bi-district tournament is going to be tough. They’re all good and they’re mostly, if not all, private schools. We know what’s coming and I still believe our doubles and singles players can compete.”
Lynch, Martin and Rohan will play in pigtail matches Wednesday for a chance to earn a spot in the tournament. Bishop, Gochanour and Zisette play in the first round Friday.