Weld County’s Class 4A girls tennis teams end season short of finals
May 14, 2017
Playbacks were put in place to create a fair tournament.
If one team loses to another team that then advances to the finals, the first team has a chance to battle back to finish third.
So, in a 16-team tournament, after a first-round loss, there are two rounds of playbacks to advance to the third-place match.
That's the position Greeley West's Alicia Cruz and Jana Sherif, and Windsor's Anna Lowndes and Kiley Smith, were in after Friday morning's semifinal matches.
Each team bounced back from losses Thursday to win its first match Friday, but finished one win short of the third place match, Cruz and Sherif at No. 2 doubles and Lowndes and Smith at No. 3 doubles.
Cruz and Sherif got their day started against Camie Hall and Sierra Londenberg of Canon City, winning in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. They dropped the first three games, but then rallied to win 12 of the next 14 to advance to the next round.
"They came out really nervous. They were almost unable to even get a ball in play," coach Ryan Pace said in a phone interview. "But once they found their footing and got going, they cruised."
They kept that momentum going into their next match, taking an early 5-1 lead in the first set. But, like West did to Canon in the previous round, Lily Chick and Emily West of Durango stormed back to win 12 of the next 14 points and the match, 7-5, 6-2.
"It was a tough way to lose, but the other team just played a little better than us, honestly," Pace said. "It was a good way to end the season if we have to end on a loss."
Lowndes and Smith also had an up-and-down day on their way through playbacks. Their first match was against Loveland's Kira Badberg and Heather Price, a team they were swept by at regionals.
What a difference 10 days make. They stormed out of the gate to breeze through the first set before getting hung up in the second. But they rallied in the third to take the set and the match 6-2, 1-6, 6-2.
"They just played phenomenally well," coach Chris Minear said in a phone interview. "In that (second set) Loveland got up and we lost our cool. … But they regrouped and came out and hit the shots they needed to hit and got a big win."
The next match didn't go as well, as they ran into a brick wall in the form of Mullen's Tatum Maloney and Jordan Cleary. Maloney and Cleary never let Lowndes and Smith find a rhythm, winning in straight sets 6-3, 6-1.
"They came out and hit really good shots," Minear said. "We just couldn't put enough points together to build on anything."
Windsor's No. 4 doubles team of Natalie Talbot and Brooke Shrader had Weld's only win yesterday, advancing to the quarterfinals before falling to Emilie-Anne Choi and Lucy Pratt of Kent Denver.
However, Choi and Pratt lost in the semifinals today to end any chance of Talbot and Shrader advancing through playbacks.
The Wizard's Brooklynn Kelley and Greeley West's No. 1 doubles team of Hanna Cropper and Delaynie McPhee were also eliminated today when the teams they lost to failed to reach the finals.
"This was great for a total rebuilding year," Pace said. "We're excited to get moving forward and putting Greeley West back on the map as a tennis powerhouse."
Doubles — 3. Anna Lowndes & Kiley Smith, WHS, def. Kira Badberg & Heather Price, LHS, 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 — Tatum Maloney & Jordan Cleary, MHS, def. Anna Lowndes & Kiley Smith, WHS, 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles — 1. Alicia Cruz & Jana Sherif, GWHS, def. Camie Hall & Sierra Londenberg, CCHS, 6-2, 6-3 — Lily Chick & Emily West, DHS, def. Alicia Cruz & Jana Sherif, GWHS, 7-5, 6-2.