Vikings ‘break’ Lancers’ back
Pat Fagen has been pushing his South Tahoe High girls’ tennis players throughout the 2007 season.
They learned why on Tuesday in the Northern 4A regional team quarterfinals in Reno. The third-seeded Vikings surprised second-seeded McQueen 10-8, pulling off two tiebreaker wins to trigger the upset.
“It was the best match they’ve played in the last two years,” said Fagen, whose team was eliminated by Incline by the same score last year. “They played great, and it was a true team effort.”
The Vikings showed their mettle when several matches came down tiebreakers. Lindsey Martin overcame a match point to defeat McQueen’s third seed 10-8 in a tiebreaker, providing the final margin. If Martin had lost, the teams would have played the first-round matchups in a seven-point tiebreaker format.
“I’ve been challenging them in practice to go out their with some heart and fight, and that’s what they did,” Fagen said.
Just as important was the improbable comeback victory by doubles team Cierra Rawlings and Savannah Cherry. The pair was down 2-5 and 15-40 to McQueen’s top duo but came back to win a tiebreaker 7-5.
“Those two girls don’t always play the best, but they have the most heart of any two out there,” Fagen said.
Cherry and Rawlings won their other two matches as well, 7-5 and 6-1.
Chela Wahl and McKenzie Usher, the Vikings’ top-seeded doubles team, came through with a pair of 6-3 victories.
“It feels great,” Usher said. “We won because we are hard workers and worked hard all the way through.”
STHS’s other singles victories were won by Jenny Wiseman and Rebecca Roberts. After the teams split the first six matches, Roberts’ 6-4 victory gave the Vikings a 7-5 lead heading into the final round. Roberts also won her first match of the day, 6-3.
Wiseman beat McQueen’s No. 3 seed, 6-1.
“We had some struggles in the first round, and we came through,” Wahl said. “We really wanted to win, and we put our whole hearts into it.”
As a result, the Vikings (8-3) get another shot at Sierra Division champion Reno, which thumped Bishop Manogue 12-6 on Tuesday. Reno soundly defeated the Vikings 15-3 earlier in the season, but South Tahoe thinks it has closed the gap since then.
“The girls are looking forward to it and are fired up,” Fagen said. “They’ve realized that they are right there and are looking forward to a good match.”
Thursday’s semifinal match at Reno High starts at 3 p.m.