Rachel Grubbs sets up for a backhand return Saturday as the Steamboat Springs High School girls tennis team beat Air Academy, taking six of seven matches. Grubbs, playing No. 2 singles, won in two sets.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Rachel Grubbs sets up for a backhand return Saturday as the Steamboat Springs High School girls tennis team beat Air Academy, taking six of seven matches. Grubbs, playing No. 2 singles, won in two sets.

Steamboat tennis takes 6 of 7 from Air Academy

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— The Steamboat Springs High School tennis team found quite a way to wrap up the weekend.

The squad, which won a Friday dual via a sweep, won six of seven matches Saturday, blasting Air Academy at home in Steamboat Springs.

“I’m really pleased with how the girls are working together and how each practice, they’re practicing with purpose,” Steamboat coach John Aragon said.

The Sailors picked up big wins up and down the lineup.

Sometimes the scores were lopsided. Alli Lowrie and Ali Diehl, for instance, won, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 1 doubles. Shealie Jenkins and Kira Lorenzen won, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 2 doubles, and Brooke Metzler and Summer Smalley won, 6-1, 6-3, at No. 3 doubles.

“Brooke was really good with her ground strokes, and I was good at the net, so we evened each other out,” said Smalley, who along with Metzler improved to 5-1 at No. 3 doubles this season. “We really work well together.”

Elsewhere, the games were tight and the wins important.

Christi Valicenti pulled out a tough second set to win, 6-3, 7-5. That win bumped her to 6-0 on the season.

Rachel Grubbs went 6-3, 6-4 to win at No. 2 singles. Ellie Bender, meanwhile, dug deep in a tight second set to force a 10-point tiebreaker. She won that to take the match, 5-7, 6-4, 10-6.

Air Academy’s Ashley Burnett kept Bender off balance with a slicing shot early in the match, but Bender, a sophomore, warmed up and caught fire later in the second set.

“Once I starting hitting my game, hitting my harder shots, it was harder for her to get those shots,” Bender said. “I think I’ve gotten smarter about placing the ball. I’m not just hitting the ball randomly at open spots anymore.”

Steamboat’s lone loss came at No. 4 doubles, where Katie Ross and Lexie Baden fell to Brooklyn Stern and Julia Madsen, 6-3, 7-6 (6).

“We’re still unsure who’s going to be in that No. 4 doubles spot, but it’s great to have four girls there all competing for spots on the team,” Aragon said. “It gives us a lot of depth.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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