Sailors fall flat in final round

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— Steamboat Springs High School doubles players Molly Weiss and Kristin Toy struggled to find their game Saturday during the final day of the 2006 State High School Girls Tennis Tournament at Pueblo City Park.

But their opponents from Greeley West did not.

"They had a very unusual game," Weiss said. "They were lobbers and slicers, and we normally play the fast and hard. We just couldn't figure out how to play their game."

Greeley West's Nicole Ford and Jennah Kitchell took the Steamboat team out of their usual game early, then sliced and lobbed their way to third place in the No. 1 doubles bracket with a 6-3, 6-2 victory.

"They just lobbed everything," Toy said. "We did well, but I think we could have done better. I think this experience will make us hungry for next year. We didn't really play our game in that last match, and then we got caught up in that lobbing game."

A few courts away, Mullen's Patty Pogge and Lauren Perkins, who beat Steamboat in the semifinal match, topped Kent Denver's Katie Brezinski and Anna Brugioni in the title match, 6-2, 6-3.

Like her teammates, Steam--boat's No. 3 singles player, Shelby Reed, struggled to find her game early against Mullen's Kimber Roberts. Reed looked out of sync in the first set, losing 6-2. She fell behind in the second, 4-1, before coming to life. Reed frustrated Roberts in the final games of the second set with her patience. The match point went back and fourth 90 times before Reed got caught flatfooted on a short rally from the Mullen sophomore and was unable to get it over the net.

Roberts won the second set, 6-4, to earn the match and third place in the state finals. Reed, a freshman, took fourth place.

Sailors coach John Aragon said he thought Reed could have won the second set and the match if she had one more key game.

Cheyenne Mountain's Mary Russell, who beat Reed, 4-6, 6-3 and 6-3, in the quarterfinals, topped Kent Denver's Allison Wold for the No. 3 singles title.

Mullen took the team title by winning three of the four doubles title and placing third in all three singles divisions.

Mullen finished with 70 points to hold off Cheyenne Mountain in second with 61 points.

Steamboat was shut out Saturday, but the 19 points the team scored in the first two days was enough to secure fifth place in the team standings. Greeley West collected four points on the final day but could only manage 18 points -- not enough to catch Steamboat.

"I'm happy that we were able to medal in our division," Toy said. "At least we are not going home empty-handed."

--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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