Steamboat girls tennis to swing for championship of rare home tournament | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat girls tennis to swing for championship of rare home tournament

Steamboat’s Lily Fox eyes the ball for a return Friday as the Steamboat Springs High School girls tennis team started its season with a home tournament.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs High School girls tennis team strove to take advantage of a unique opportunity Friday, and when its season-opening night was done, it was exactly in the position it had hoped to be in when things started.

The Sailors are playing host to a tournament, the first regular season tournament the program has ever put on.

Heading into the second day of the event, Saturday, Steamboat is poised to play to win the whole thing after it cruised to victories Friday in its three-team pool.

"It's just nice to have more teams here for the girls to play. Obviously Steamboat's isolated in a sense, so it's nice everyone's here," said Kristyn Wykert, taking over as head coach this season after longtime Steamboat staple John Aragon stepped down from the job this winter.

Five other teams traveled to Steamboat. A few, like Aspen, Vail Mountain and Glenwood Springs, are regular rivals the Sailors see several times in most seasons. Others, like Centaurus and Northridge, offer fresh opponents.

Friday, Steamboat faced down both Vail Mountain and Northridge, beating both. It will play the top seed from the other side of the bracket, No. 1 rival Aspen, starting at about 11 a.m. Saturday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.

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The team looked plenty sharp in its season opening action. It beat Vail 6-1. Steamboat got wins from Mae Thorp at No. 1 singles, 8-2; Lily Fox at No. 2 singles, 8-2; Lauren Ehrlich and Morgan Sauerbrey at No. 1 doubles, 8-1; Amy Speer and Amanda Walker at No. 2 doubles, 8-6; Este Wilkinson and Maddie Heydon at No. 3 doubles, 8-6; and Marie Koop and Christian Hathaway at No. 4 doubles, 8-2.

Against Northridge, the team won all seven matches, and in dominating fashion, without giving up a game, taking each matchup 8-0.

"After the girls shook off their nerves they played awesome," Wykert said. "I'm excited how our doubles teams worked other, how they communicated, their movement on the court and the team camaraderie."

The team does have high expectations this season, and that starts at the top of the lineup.

The Sailors sent two players to the final day of the state tournament last year, and one, sophomore Mae Thorp, is back after placing second in that tournament.

Fox also made the trip to state as is back in the singles lineup.

Wykert said she's comfortable with her lineup at this point, but that she'll keep an eye on the roster to evaluate any potential changes as the season wears on.

"For the most part, we're set, but there may be some adjustments," she said. "For right now, it seems pretty solid and this weekend is a good determining factor."