Long, Roberts win regional tennis titles
Last year, Masha Long and Jimmy Roberts became the first South Tahoe tennis players to qualify for the state tournament since the mid-1990s. This year, Long and Roberts did something even more historic by becoming the first regional champions in school history.
Long defeated Reno’s Andrea Palosaari 6-2, 6-3, while Roberts edged Reno’s Jeff Mullen 6-2, 7-6 in the Northern 4A regional tournament finals on Saturday at the Reno Tennis Center. Both players will be the region’s No. 1 seed at this week’s 4A state tournament in Reno.
“It was a good tournament for us and it was indicative of what level the high school program is at right now,” said STHS girls’ coach Pat Fagen. “Any time a school wins two singles titles – especially one as small as ours – it’s a big achievement.”
Long’s toughest match came in the semifinals, where she defeated Galena’s Sierra Leeder for the seventh consecutive time. Long, who also beat Leeder in the semifinals last year, posted a 7-6, 6-2 victory.
Roberts, meanwhile, only lost one game in the first three rounds and then avenged a loss to Mullen earlier this season with his victory over him in the finals. Mullen also beat Roberts in the regional finals last year.
“Last year when he beat me, I had a big match before and it kind of wore me out,” Roberts said. “I know he has a really weak backhand but a really, really strong forehand. So I tried to pick on that as much as possible.”
Jade Copple lost in the second round of the singles tournament, as did the doubles teams of Nick Smith and Tyler Venema and Nik Noomen and Sean Brower.
Chela Wahl and Jenny Schmedes, who entered the doubles tournament as the Sierra League’s top seed, and Savannah Cherry and Kenzie Usher both lost in the quarterfinals. It was the first loss of the season for Wahl and Schmedes. Lauren Sannazzaro and Cierra Rawlings were eliminated in the second round.
“It’s unfortunate that their season ended like this because I would’ve matched them up against anybody,” Fagen said of Wahl and Schemdes. “I still think they are the best doubles team up here, but they just ran into a team that played unorthodox and they weren’t able to adapt in time.”
The state tournament starts on Friday at the Reno Tennis Center. Long and Roberts, who both lost in the quarterfinals last year, should know their first-round opponents by today.
“I didn’t really know how good the players were from Las Vegas until I went down there last year,” Roberts said. “This year, hopefully I will go in there and win a couple of rounds. I know I’ll have to play my best.”
South Tahoe boys’ tennis coach Kyle Horvath didn’t return a call Sunday night seeking comment for this story.
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