Sailors dish out plenty of love

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— In tennis, love isn't good unless you're the one dishing it out, and several members of the Steamboat Springs girls' tennis team had plenty of it to pass around Saturday.

Allison Griffing, Kim Heckbert and Kelli Parnell went a combined 72-10 in games played en route to posting a 6-0 match mark. All three had at least one set where their opponent didn't win a game.

"Allison, Kelli and Kim were definitely focused," coach Emily Harris said.

Heckbert perhaps more than anyone. She defeated Hotchkiss' Louise Schum, 6-0, 6-1, in her morning match and Glenwood Springs' Celeste Cashel in the afternoon. Heckbert lost to Cashel several weeks ago, which served as further motivation.

"I said, 'Today is war.' I was determined to not let her win a game," Heckbert said.

And Cashel didn't. Heckbert easily won, 6-0, 6-0.

Parnell also improved over the course of her matches on Saturday. Despite an easy 6-0, 6-2 discarding of Hotchkiss' Anna Campbell, Parnell wasn't happy, so she focused on improving her shot consistency against Glenwood Springs' Molly Axelson. With a smile on her face, she rolled to a 6-2, 6-0 victory.

"I didn't think I played that well in my first match even though I won," Parnell said. "But in the second match I played awesome. I'm real happy."

Griffing, the No. 1 singles player, dominated as well, taking a 6-2, 6-2 match from Haley Benson and a 6-1, 6-0 match from Tessie Tracy. Tracy, normally a junior varsity player, was forced into the top singles slot after Glenwood Springs' previous No. 1 player quit the team.

The Sailors showed no mercy and needed strong efforts from everyone because they were forced to forfeit the No. 3 doubles match against both Hotchkiss and Glenwood because of Amanda Toy's absence, putting them in an early deficit.

However, Steamboat still would have fallen short had the No. 1 doubles group of Tiffany McGinn and Ali Fisher not come to play.

The pair defeated both the doubles teams from Hotchkiss a 7-5, 6-4 defeat, and Glenwood Springs, 6-2, 6-2, securing the team's overall victories.

Harris was uncertain how her team would respond to a two-week layoff from competition.

She got her answer.

"I guess the break was good," Harris said. "It's good for them to peak right now."

It is good because the Regional Tournament is next on the Sailors' schedule. The competition will be stiff with bids to state on the line.

Play at Mesa State gets under way May 3 and runs through May 4.

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