Reno edges STHS tennis
After a convincing victory over Galena on Tuesday, the South Tahoe High girls’ tennis team figured they would enjoy a similar outcome against defending Northern 4A champion Reno on Thursday. The Huskies, though, had a different plan.
Trailing 4-2 after the first round, Reno bounced back to win eight of the final 12 matches to beat the Vikings 10-8 at South Tahoe High School. All but one of the matches were finished when the Huskies earned a tiebreaker victory in the final doubles match, thus eliminating any chance for a 9-9 tie and another round of games to determine a winner.
“If we would’ve gone to the tiebreaker, I am confident we could’ve pulled it out,” said STHS coach Pat Fagen. “The last match we lost because we missed some shots being aggressive. I would rather them err on the side of being aggressive than being cautious.”
The Vikings (1-1) came out strong in the first round, using singles wins from Masha Long and Jenny Wiseman and then relying on their talented doubles teams. Chela Wahl and Jenny Schmedes and Savannah Cherry and Lauren Sannazzaro both earned victories to give South Tahoe a 4-2 advantage.
But only Long and the doubles team of Wahl and Schmedes were able to win the rest of the way, combining for South Tahoe’s last four wins. The doubles team of Kenzie Usher and Cierra Rawlings played brilliantly in the third round to force a tiebreaker in the last match of the afternoon.
Tied 6-6, Usher and Rawlings engaged in back-and-forth tiebreaker battle with the Huskies. They fell behind 4-3 in the tiebreaker before surging to a 7-6 lead. Facing match point, Reno tied it at 7 before earning the next two points and pulling out a 7-6 victory (9-7 tiebreaker, win by two points).
“We’re definitely bummed,” said Long, who has won all six of her singles matches this season. “I think maybe we got a little overconfident because we beat Galena and we’ve never done that. We thought we would crush Reno. Now we know what we need to work on for next time.”
South Tahoe had never beaten Galena before Tuesday’s win over the Grizzlies. Even though it’s just one week into the season, Fagen expects to see both teams again in the Northern 4A regional tournament. If that happens, he’s confident his team will come away with two victories.
“The girls know we’re going to work hard for the next month because we won’t even have a challenge until we meet this team again,” Fagen said. “I’m looking forward to playing them again. I think we have the better team. A couple points in a couple matches could’ve changed the whole thing around.”