Incline upsets STHS girls
The South Tahoe girls’ tennis team entered Tuesday’s playoff match against Incline with a better record, a lower seed and home-court advantage. But the Highlanders left South Lake Tahoe a winner after upsetting the Vikings 10-8 in the first round of the Northern 4A regional tournament at South Tahoe High School.
“Leading 4-2 after the first round made the difference,” said Incline coach Aaron Parsons. “I think South Tahoe may have thought we were Bishop Manogue when we showed up because we were wearing green and white. I think we shocked them because here was little Incline beating them. This was an upset.”
The Vikings lost two singles and two doubles matches in the first round, with only Masha Long and the doubles team of Chela Wahl and Jenny Schmedes posting victories. Things never really turned around for South Tahoe as it tied Incline in 6-6 in the final two rounds.
That first round, though, set the tone for the rest of the match as Wahl and Schmedes and Long combined for six of the Vikings’ eight victories.
“We put ourselves in a hole there in the first round, but I still thought we could’ve pulled ourselves out of it,” said STHS coach Pat Fagen. “I told the girls all year long that the only team that was going to beat them was themselves. We just came out a little tentative and didn’t execute like we needed to. I think the girls were surprised how good Incline was.”
The Highlanders, who finished third in the High Desert League, advanced to play Galena in the regional semifinals on Thursday. Defending regional champion Reno will face McQueen in the other semifinal.
Alessandra Richards, Shea Wickland and Suzanne Thompson combined for six singles victories for Incline, which will face Galena for the second time this season. The Highlanders lost 10-8 to the Grizzlies during the regular season.
“I think we stand a chance against them,” Parsons said of his league’s regular-season champion. “Losing 10-8 before, I think my girls know what they are capable, especially after beating a team like South Tahoe.”
The Vikings lost two one-game spread matches and two more by two games, including a crushing defeat in the final round. Needing a victory from Jade Copple in the last match to force a 9-9 tiebreaker playoff, Thompson won a tiebreaker 7-6 (7-1 tiebreaker) to clinch Incline’s 10-8 victory.
“I’m proud of the girls for this season,” Fagen said. “This is not what I expected. I am not disappointed in them. I am disappointed for them that it ended this way.”
The Northern 4A individual regional tournament starts next week. Since the Vikings earned the Sierra League’s No. 2 seed, they qualified three singles and three doubles teams. Fagen said Long is the only singles player to have secured her spot, while Wahl and Schmedes have done the same for doubles.