Facing its toughest competitor this season, South Whidbey girls tennis did what is has all year: win.
The Falcons, a 1A team, kept their team record perfect by beating the Anacortes Seahawks 4-3 on Saturday. The 2A Seahawks have won only two team matches against Northwest Conference teams, while South Whidbey has rolled through its Cascade Conference opponents.
“It’s the most we’ve been challenged all season and overall the girls played well,” said Falcon head coach Karyle Kramer.
South Whidbey’s top players pulled through. Number 1 singles player Hayley Newman, second singles Carlie Newman, and the Falcons’ first and second doubles teams won their matches. All of them claimed straight-set victories, though not without struggle. Tess Radisch and Amelia Weeks, the Falcons’ top doubles duo, won 6-2, 7-6 (7-2). Beating Anacortes’ Kyle Berlin and Miranda Millard in the tiebreaker kept Radisch and Weeks perfect at 9-0 this season.
The second doubles match was the deciding victory for South Whidbey. Hannah Calderwood and Isla Dubendorf fended off Anacortes’ Colleen Anderson and Meghan Geer, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).
“Hannah and Isla are proving to be a good combination for doubles, both with their playing styles and personalities,” Kramer said. “They ‘get’ each other and it shows.”
In singles, senior Hayley Newman defeated Anacortes’ Paola Jurkovich, 6-3, 6-2. Despite winning in straight sets, the “W” came after some work.
“It actually took Hayley most of the first set to relax a little bit,” Kramer said. “Both sets Hayley showed that she could punish short balls and come to the net. Again, this was her first opponent who could run down shots and make Hayley work longer for her points.”
Carlie Newman beat Anacortes’ Ashleigh Neitzel 6-4, 6-1. Opening the first set with 10 games was unusual for the younger Newman, who has breezed through much of her competition this season.
“Carlie is used to a 6-0 or 6-1 set, so she was also a bit tight the first set because Neitzel was keeping it very close with her all-around game,” Kramer said.
“Neitzel is a good player and Carlie played well to beat her.”
Until that point, Hayley Newman lost only a total of four games through eight matches. Carlie Newman had lost only one game in eight matches.
Playing up a classification, South Whidbey fielded a third and fourth singles. Kramer brought up Katrina Layton and Lindsay Oppelt, who both lost in straight sets. The third doubles match belonged to Anacortes’ Maria Dale and Oriana Locicero, 6-3, 6-4, over Katherine Read and Colleen Groce.
“Despite the loss, I saw several positive aspects during the match,” Kramer said. “We didn’t give up — we were right in it until the last point.”