|6/4/2014 2:31:00 PM|
Cascade girls' tennis finishes third in State
Photo by Sebastian Moraga
Cascade senior Kendall Loreth serves at the State 1A Tennis Championships in Yakima last week. Loreth finished eighth in singles.
Thanks to fine play of seniors Kendall Loreth, Katie Whitten and Hailey Hassinger, the Cascade Kodiak girls' tennis team finished third in State for the second year in a row. The doubles team of Whitten and Hassinger finished fourth, while Loreth grabbed eighth place in singles.
On the opening day at West Valley High School in Yakima last Friday, May 30, Hassinger and Whitten easily beat a team from Sprague-Harrington 6-1, 6-1. The next match was against the tournament's top seed, Chia/Chia from Forest Ridge, a private school in Bellevue. The Cascade girls lost 6-2, 6-3 sending them to a loser-out match.
"This sister duo was good and just bit too much for us to handle right then. I know we could have played better with them but you only get one shot," said Marcia Smith, Cascade head coach.
The third match of the day was against the number two team from Forest Ridge. After the slow start, the Kodiak girls won the first set 6-4, and cruised in the second set 6-1.
"There were some really amazing rallies in this match and, despite the score, set two was very entertaining," Smith said.
Last Saturday, Whitten and Hassinger played against a team from South Whidbey. Having seen this team the previous day, Smith knew they were very active at the net. True to form, the South Whidbey duo started coming to the net right away, but the Kodiak girls kept them in check with some perfect lobs.
Cascade won the first set 6-3. For the second set, South Whidbey started playing Australian style, both at net, but it didn't throw them off. That set was a bit closer, but Whitten and Hassinger prevailed, winning fourth place.
"These two have been partners since their freshman year and it has been fun watching them improve each year," she said. "They made two appearances at the State Tournament, placing second in 2013, and capping off their career with another great finish at State."
Kendall Loreth began the tournament last Friday with 6-1, 6-1 loss to Melville of Lind-Ritzville-Sprague. Next match, Loreth beat Vens from Tennino 6-4, 6-1. The third match of the day saw Loreth face Pierce of St. George's.
"Kendall got behind early 1-4, before she made a good comeback but dropped that set 4-6. We spotted one small weakness in the other gal and decided to pick on it. So Kendall went to work returning as many shots as possible to her backhand," Smith said. "Then her opponent started dancing around the ball to make those returns a forehand shot making her move a lot more and putting a ton of pressure on that forehand shot."
Pierce's backhand was letting her down time and again. Set two was long and hot, but Loreth was able to prevail in the tiebreaker 7-6. In the third set, Loreth fell behind 4-5, fighting off a match point before forcing another tiebreaker at 6-6. Loreth prevailed in another nail biter to advance to Saturday's matches.
Playing for fifth and eighth place, Loreth faced Thye of Riverside. Loreth got off to a great start, winning the first set 6-3. But then the momentum started to change as it became a battle of who could keep the rally going the longest. Loreth lost set two 6-2. Three of the games in set three went to deuce but Loreth just could not win those points and lost the third set 6-2. But she still won eighth place.
"This was an amazing season for Kendall. She will be playing soccer at Eastern next year, so we like to teasingly say, Kendall is a soccer player that dabbles in tennis," Smith said. "We say this with complete admiration and this proves what a fantastic athlete she is. I am so happy that she made it to the State Tournament and was able to earn a medal."
Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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