Sailors slide by Skiers | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors slide by Skiers

Melinda Mawdsley

The match was on Steamboat Springs tennis players Tara King and Adele Dombrowski.

No worries. King calmly stepped behind the service line and delivered two fantastic serves. What King couldn’t do with the serve, Dombrowski did at the net, putting the final two points away, as the Sailors’ No. 4 doubles team went on to defeat Aspen’s No. 4 doubles team, 6-4, 6-4, to secure the team victory for Steamboat.

Heading into the final set of King and Dombrowski’s match against Caitlin Carlson and Katie Knowlton, the Sailors and Skiers each had three match wins.

Breanne Murray picked up a No. 2 singles win for Steamboat. The Sailors also received match wins from the No. 1 doubles team of Kristin Toy and Cori Evans and the No. 2 doubles teams of Megan Mooney and Martha Bender.

No. 1 singles player Alex Leddy, No. 3 singles player Tiege Muhlfeld and the No. 3 doubles team of Tegan Walter and Maggie Hofman picked up wins for the Skiers.

Aspen is one of the toughest teams in Steamboat’s region. To advance to the state tournament in Pueblo, a player or doubles team must finish first or second at regionals. The Sailors have gotten a good look at most of their regional competition, and a few of the Aspen and Steamboat players likely will meet again with a trip to state on the line.

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Murray, Mooney and Bender have proven to be ready for the challenge. With her 6-2, 6-4 win over Jenn Leddy, Murray improved to 8-0 this season in dual match play. With their 7-5, 6-1 victory against Robyn Landis and Baylee Zwart, Mooney and Bender improved to 7-0 in dual match play.

Mooney and Bender have been a doubles team for three years, and the experience the two seniors have gained through countless varsity matches is paying off this season, as evidenced by Friday’s positive result.

“I don’t think they were intimated by us in the first set,” Mooney said. “But after we won, they started to make more mistakes in the second. They tried to slam it. … The key to doubles is constantly moving your feet.”

“And being consistent,” Bender added.

The two are best friends in addition to being teammates, and they frequently completed each other’s sentences — and points — Friday.

Murray came into this varsity season unsure of what to expect as a “shy” freshman. She wanted to be a singles player, and her impressive serve and variety of shots make her tough to beat at No. 2 singles.

“I had my serve, but it has been one of my worst shots for about a year,” Murray said. “I thought it was good (Friday). I had a lot of aces.”

Murray said she is a little surprised with how well she has adapted to the competitive schedule and travel requirements of high school tennis, but the competition she has seen has brought out the best in her game.

Steamboat will need to be sharp again when it hosts Longmont at 9 a.m. today at the Tennis Center.