Steamboat girls tennis team down and out at state

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Steamboat Springs High School coach John Aragon said there were a number of takeaways from Thursday’s first day of the Class 4A state tennis tournament in Pueblo.

He was impressed with the way his team handled itself on the court and afterward and how the girls supported one another and stuck together.

“That means as much as anything,” Aragon said. “That’s a great thing to take on into later life.”

Another takeaway: “We have to work a little harder in the offseason.”

The Sailors qualified their entire team to the tournament, sending 11 players, three in singles and eight in doubles. By Thursday afternoon, all seven were out of the championship bracket, most without much chance to get back into the action Friday via playback opportunities.

Ellie Bender, playing at No. 1 singles, came away with the team’s only tournament win. She beat Colorado Academy's Tara Edwards, 6-4, 6-4, to advance through the first round.

“She went out there and stepped it up and played some of her best tennis,” Aragon said. “It was a great match, very athletic, very entertaining and she kept her composure, then closed it out.”

She couldn’t maintain that momentum in the second round where she lost to Cheyenne Mountain’s Kalyssa Hall, 6-0, 6-0.

Her teammates faced similar struggles in the first round. Kira Lorenzen lost at No. 2 singles to Lexi Reed, of D’Evelyn, 4-6, 6-4, 2-6. Maddie Labor lost to Windsor’s Sarah Engelhardt, 6-4, 7-5, at No. 3 singles.

Emmi Thompson and Hanna Haggerty lost to a Pueblo South pair, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 1 doubles. Maddie Thompson and Lily Petersen lost to an Eaton team, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4, at No. 2 doubles. Sydney Boyd and Shannon Ross fell to another Eaton squad, 6-0, 7-6, at No. 3 doubles, and Jessie Selby and Emma Wilson, playing No. 4 doubles, lost to a team from D’Evelyn, 7-5, 6-3.

“We had opportunities to win some of those third sets, or to win it in two, but it just didn’t happen,” Aragon said. “Dealing with pressure and big points better would really help us. We had the opportunity where we could all advance through the first round.”

The Sailors won’t learn how many athletes will get another chance until Friday, after the championship semifinals. If the player who beat the Sailors player wins her semifinal, all the players that girl beat will get pulled into the consolation bracket.

“It didn’t go as well as we were hoping, but I tell ya what, what a great group of young ladies,” Aragon said. “After the match, all of them sat and talked about the tournament and the team, and how they respect and care for one another. Win or lose, they’re a team and they stick together.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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