The Salida High School girls’ tennis team had a rough afternoon but found a way to beat athletic powerhouse St. Mary’s 4-3 Thursday in Colorado Springs.
“I told the girls that it was going to be a 4-3 match one way or another,” coach Josh Betchtel said. “Fortunately, we came out on the winning side.”
The win sets Salida at the top of the pack in the Tri-Peaks League, at 4-0 in league play and 6-1 overall. St. Mary’s is 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the league.
Senior Kathryn Edgington, Salida’s No. 1 singles player, lost 0-6, 1-6.
“Their No. 1 singles player this year is a real stud freshman,” Bechtel said. “I think she was a starting point guard on their state championship basketball team. It was good practice for Kathryn. Playing a tough player like that makes you better in the long run.”
Sophomore Grace Johnson, at No. 2 singles, fought a tough match against the Lady Pirates’ former No. 1 singles player, losing the first set 6-7 with a 2-7 tiebreaker, winning the second set 6-3 and forcing a third set, which she lost 1-10.
“Grace sometimes puts a little too much pressure on herself,” Bechtel said. “We are working on getting mentally tough, especially during tiebreakers.”
Senior Melissa McKenna, at No. 3 singles, dominated her opponent 6-1, 6-0.
“Melissa keeps getting better and better,” Bechtel said.
The No. 1 doubles team, seniors Alyson Dewberry and Ellie Richardson, won 6-2, 6-2.
“It was a great match,” Bechtel said. “They had their opponents on their heels and really dominated net play.”
Juniors Lily Stephens and Maisy Haynes, the No. 2 doubles team, won 6-2, 6-0.
“This was redemption for their Fountain Valley loss,” Bechtel said. “They started strong and played well.”
At No. 3 doubles, senior Desirae Bayuk and junior Madison Miller lost 2-6, 5-7.
“They had a rough first set and were fighting back in the second, but got frustrated down the stretch,” Bechtel said.
Junior Gianna Fritz and freshman Madison Anderson, the No. 4 doubles team, won 6-2, 6-4.
“They played a really good match and had some great shots,” Bechtel said.
The Lady Spartans will return to the court against a couple of bigger 4A schools next week. They will be in Cañon City at 4 p.m. Tuesday to face the Lady Tigers, then will be home at 3 p.m Wednesday against the Pueblo West Lady Cyclones.
“We’ll see some good competition against these bigger schools,” Bechtel said, “and we’re up for the challenge.”