Steamboat tennis wins 5 of 7 matches against Boulder |

Steamboat tennis wins 5 of 7 matches against Boulder

Steamboat’s Lauren Siegel

Steamboat's Lauren Siegel, left, and Ali Diehl celebrate a point Friday during their two-set victory against a team from Boulder. The Sailors tennis team won five of seven matches against Boulder.
Joel Reichenberger

— Lauren Siegel and Ali Diehl thrived as doubles teammates two years ago, making it all the way to state as the Steamboat Springs High School tennis team's No. 4 doubles squad.

Now that the two again are playing together this year, as the No. 1 doubles squad, they're again flourishing. They rolled to a 2-0 record Friday by downing their opponents from Boulder in two sets.

"We have a telepathic connection," Siegel said. "We're really happy to be playing together again."

The Steamboat team see­­med to be in a connected state of mind Friday. The No. 1 doubles team was joined in victory by four other Steamboat entries as the Sailors took five of seven matches from Boulder, setting up an important showdown at 11 a.m. today in Steamboat against Kent Denver.

Among the Sailors who won big was No. 1 singles player Christi Valicenti, who prevailed in a tough match against Boulder's top player, Ronnie Myers.

Valicenti took the first set, 6-4, but gave up a lead and lost the second before locking down the third for the win, 6-2.

It was a big win, Steamboat coach John Aragon said, but tallying another victory was far from the only positive he saw in the match. It wasn't that she won. It was how.

"She was tenacious, she set up points, and she was patient," Aragon said. "Since we've had her on the team, that's the best she's come back from adversity. She took charge of the match and really used her athleticism and her total game."

Steamboat also picked up wins at No. 2 doubles, where Ellie Bender and Kaitie Breisch won, 6-3, 6-2; at No. 3 doubles, where Allie Lowrie and Rachel Grubbs won, 6-2, 6-2; and at No. 3 singles, where Rachelle Steele-Cerone won, 6-0, 6-2.

"It was great," Steele-Cerone said. "I was mixing up shots, making her move and placing the ball wherever I could. I kept my head in the game and played smart and didn't go for lines."

Steamboat's Claire Parsons lost, 6-4, 7-6(5) at No. 2 singles, and the No. 4 doubles team of Summer Smalley and Maria Hillenbrand fell despite a strong first set, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Those loses — filled with tight games and close sets — did little to dampen what Aragon said was a good day.

"It was a really solid team performance," he said. "Boulder always has good athletes, kids that play a lot of tennis, so this was a really solid performance by our girls."


 Steamboat 5, Boulder 2

■ No. 1 singles

Steamboat's Christi Valicenti def. Ronnie Myers, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2

■ No. 2 singles

Boulder's Miguela Newhart def. Claire Parsons, 6-4, 7-6(5)

■ No. 3 singles

Steamboat's Rachelle Steele-Cerone def. Kayla Morrissey, 6-0, 6-2

■ No. 1 doubles

Steamboat's Ali Diehl and Lauren Siegel def. Chloe Kishel and Shanti van Vuuren, 6-4, 6-4

■ No. 2 doubles

Steamboat's Kaitie Breisch and Ellie Bender def. Tailia Taxman and Hannah Tuttle, 6-3, 6-2

■ No. 3 doubles

Steamboat's Rachel Grubbs and Alli Lowrie def. Lexy Mangon and Eliz Shaw, 6-2, 6-2

■ No. 4 doubles

Boulder's Caroline Buhse and Azalle Rafii def. Summer Smalley and Maria Hillenbrand, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4

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