Sailors girls tennis poised to win regional title | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors girls tennis poised to win regional title

Steamboat Springs High School Sailors

— The table is set for the Steamboat Springs High School girls tennis team to shine at the Class 3A Region 8 tennis tournament.

After the first day of the event in Grand Junction, Steamboat is poised to win the tournament, which would mark its 13th-consecutive year atop the region. But, one tough day of tennis — six tough matches — remain if the Sailors are to reach that goal.

Steamboat is in first place heading into the championship round, having racked up 49 points to Aspen's 42. Vail Mountain sits in third with 33.

The Sailors have six entries — all three singles teams and three of the four doubles teams — playing Saturday in the championship match of their respective brackets.

"I just liked how the kids came together," coach John Aragon said. "It was great to see the team rally around one another, support one another and get to the position it is in. Hopefully, we can continue this."

Aragon said one of the day's two most noteworthy wins came at No. 3 singles, where Lily Fox won a grueling match against a player from Vail Mountain. It took three sets, two of which ended in tiebreakers. Fox finally won, 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 7-5.

Recommended Stories For You

"That's an opponent she's never beat before," Aragon said. "It took a few hours, but, boy, I was really pleased with how she got it together when it really counted and really mattered. It really was a turning point and a breakthrough for Lily this season."

The other match that most stood out came from the No. 3 doubles teams, with Hadley McGee and Christina Hathaway.

The first hurdle with the squad came when Mariah Walker, who played throughout the season, missed the regional tournament with an injury. Hathaway stepped in in a big way, however, and she and McGee went through sets to beat a Vail Mountain pair, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

"They hadn't been in a third set, and it came down to the wire," Aragon said. "That's by far the best I've ever seen Christina play. She stepped up, volleyed, moved very well, and Hadley, she's a senior leader also and came out and played great. It wasn't just how they played, but how they competed."

At No. 1 singles, Mae Thorp cruised through her bracket and is in the championship against an Aspen opponent. Emmie Thompson is in the championship at No. 2 singles against a Vail Mountain competitor. Fox will play an Aspen opponent at No. 3 singles.

Emmie Thompson and Natalie Simon made the championship at No. 1 doubles. McGee and Hathaway are there at No. 3 doubles, as are Lauren Ehrlich and Morgan Sauerbrey, at No. 4 doubles.

Amy Spear and Soria Rabanal, at No. 2 doubles, lost in the first round, but only after what Aragon described as a strong match.

"They played a good match against a really scrappy, solid team," Aragon said. "They never quit, but it just didn't work out for them today. I loved their attitude and effort on the court."

Now, the team has the chance to qualify six entries, nine total players, to the state tournament, and, if all goes well, it has a chance to win its 13th-consecutive regional championship.

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