Tong helps Incline tennis edge Mason, South Tahoe |

Tong helps Incline tennis edge Mason, South Tahoe

Incline's Kate Tong smacks a return Tuesday against South Tahoe.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Incline’s Kate Tong and South Tahoe’s Kayla Mason staged a close, hard-fought battle on Tuesday, similar to last year when they faced each other in the 3A Northern Regional tennis tournament semifinals.

Tong again came out on top, erasing an early 3-0 deficit to rally and win 7-5 in a match of each team’s top player.

Tong also beat the Vikings Nos. 2 and 3 players to lead the Highlanders to a 10-8 victory over their South Shore hosts.

“Kate seemed to need to figure it out and once she did, she went to town,” said Incline head coach Elizabeth Gebhardt. “Kate is very bright, she has a 4.5-grade point average, and logical.”

Tong earned a two-set victory over Mason last year to earn the No. 2 seed and a Nevada state tournament berth and the first set of that match was a nailbiter, 7-6 (5), 6-2. Tong ended up falling to her Incline senior teammate Viki Valente in the regional final.

“Kayla played extremely well and fought hard,” said South Tahoe head coach Tracey Samoluk. “She almost had her. It was very close but she will have another opportunity in our next match against them.”

Tong vs. Mason was the last match still being played in the first round. The other competitors were done and cheering for them.

Incline’s singles players got the best of South Tahoe (6-3) while the Vikings doubles teams gained points (5-4) against the Highlanders.

Tong won all three of her matches and is unbeaten this season in nine matches.

Incline’s No. 3 Millie Jenkins won two of three matches, winning 6-2 and 6-1 before pushing Mason to the brink, losing 6-4.

Incline’s No. 2 Taylor Redfern earned one point.

Mason won her other two matches and No. 2 singles player Sierra Dahl earned the Vikings’ other singles point, and lost a close match to

Tong (6-4).

The Vikings top doubles team of Lauren Schwartz and Riana Bindel won all three of their matches. They outlasted Melanie Racich and Lili Price-Skelly 6-4 in the first round and Lucy Donahue and Summer Ferrell 6-4 in the second round before cruising 6-0 in their third match.

“Our No. 1 doubles team, Lauren and Riana, are a tough force together,” Samoluk said.

Donahue and Ferrell earned two wins that pleased their coach.

“I was really happy that Lucy and Summer, the number two dubs team, were playing aggressively,” Gebhardt said. “It was a fun match.”

South Tahoe’s No. 2 doubles team of Nicole Morgan and Kayler Bull earned two points.

The Vikings have six returning players, Bindel, Alyx Carlson, Mason, Schwartz, Morgan and Dahl and four first-year players.

“With five returning and four brand new girls on the team, we did fantastic job,” Samoluk said. “I am very proud of them. Each and every member of the team went out there and gave it their best. They get out here and have fun and that’s what it’s all about. If we can get some wins it will be an added bonus.”

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