Steamboat tennis sends 3 through at state |

Steamboat tennis sends 3 through at state

3rd-place matches loom after frustrating Friday

Claire Parsons eyes a return Friday during the second day of the state tennis tournament in Pueblo. Parsons won in the consolation bracket to earn the right to play today for third place at No. 3 singles. She'll be joined in action today by Steamboat's No. 3 doubles squad of Alli Lowrie and Rachel Grubss.

— Claire Parsons doesn't react with vitriol when labeled a tennis machine.

She gets it.

"I try to out-consistency people," she said after a Thursday match.

That be-a-brick-wall mentality failed her in an early Friday semifinal match, a loss that ruined her chance for a championship at the state tennis tournament in Pueblo, which wraps up today.

Parsons grew frustrated with her play and her opponent, came apart after a tough first set and fell into the consolation draw.

Regrounded in the consolation semifinals, the strategy paid off, however. Parsons drained herself of energy but prevailed in two sets, beating Morgan Mulshine, of Niwot, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to today's third-place match.

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"If that had gone three sets," she said, still short of breath 10 minutes after walking from the court, "I wouldn't have won."

Parsons' resiliency came as Steamboat's day teetered between frustrating and down-right bad. The Sailors had advanced three entries — Parsons and two doubles teams — to within one win of a state finals appearance. All three lost, however, none decisively, but all certainly.

Parsons win, however, began to turn things around. It was followed up 90 minutes later by a victory from the No. 3 doubles team of Alli Lowrie and Rachel Grubbs, who bounced back from a third set loss to solve Kelle Kloster and Kelley Graham, of Longmont, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2.

The pair and Parsons now face one final test today.

"We'd like to be playing for first or second, but we're definitely take this," Lowrie said.

The No. 1 doubles team of Lauren Siegel and Ali Diehl couldn't find their bounce-back mojo from Thursday and lost to Elizabeth Dansky and Delaney Nalen, of Kent Denver, giving up the second set, 6-1, after a crushing 7-5 setback in the first.

Steamboat's No. 4 doubles team of Summer Smalley and Maria Hillenbrand fell from contention when they weren't awarded a playback opportunity. The No. 2 doubles squad of Kaitie Breisch and Ellie Bender took advantage of the second chance they got, blasting their way to a two-set victory in the consolation quarterfinals. They pushed to make their consolation semis appearance a three-set affair, but fell just short, losing to Kathleen Hansen and Erin Root, from Regis, 6-2, 6-4.

After Siegel and Diehl lost their consolation match in straight sets, 6-1 and 6-0, to Frances Adams and Katie Boe, of Cheyenne Mountain, Steamboat was running out of entries.

"We were in positions to get into the finals, so I'm a little disappointed we didn't get at least one," Steamboat coach John Aragon said. "On the other hand, it wasn't that our girls quit. The other teams stepped up and made big plays when they needed to. You just have to shake hands and tell them, 'Good match.'

"This has been a strong tournament with a solid field, and our girls give it their best effort. This is a great group of kids. They never give up and no matter what happens, they're always happy afterwards."

Parsons' opponent proved nearly as exhausted as she was and the pair played some points longer than some groups played games, each volley driving the ball a little further from a racket until finally the distance was too much, the legs to tired, and a point bounced home.

She took the first set, but she struggled to break away in the second. Finally, Mulshine's last return flew long and Parsons unleashed the least frequently seen part of her game: loud, enthusiastic emotion.

She screamed "Yes!", echoing a large gathered crowd, and rushed to shake hands and get out of the sun.

A date with Mullen's Catherine Arend and a chance for third place awaits today.

Lowrie and Grubbs, meanwhile, couldn't repeat a dominating 6-2 first set win against Mullen's Secia Porreco and Kennedy White, falling, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. They turned the tables in the day's second match, however. They lost the first set in a tiebreaker, but unraveled Longmont's lob-orientated game plan in the second and third games. As the match wore down, it was all Steamboat, and the Sailors interrupting strings of lobs by hammering winners down the center of the court.

"We really had their game figured out. We knew how to stop their lobs and put them away," Lowrie said. "We would play their game until they messed up and hit it to the net player. Then we always made sure our net player put it away."

They play today against a pair from Regis Jesuit.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email


No. 3 singles

Kristen Sullivan, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Claire Parsons, Steamboat Springs, 6-4, 6-0.

Parsons def. Morgan Mulshine, Niwot, 6-3, 6-4.

No. 1 doubles

Elizabeth Dansky and Delaney Nalen, Kent Denver, def. Lauren Siegel and Ali Diehl, Steamboat Springs, 7-5, 6-1.

Frances Adams and Katie Boe, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Siegel and Diehl, 6-1, 6-0.

No. 2 doubles

Kathleen Hansen and Erin Root, Regis Jesuit, def. Kaitie Breisch and Ellie Bender, Steamboat Springs, 6-2, 6-4.

No. 3 doubles

Secia Porreco and Kennedy White, Mullen, def. Allie Lowrie and Rachel Grubbs, Steamboat Springs, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Lowrie and Grubbs def. Kelle Kloster and Kelley Graham, Longmont, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2.

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