Carlsson claims singles title

"As tennis coach at Coupeville High, Cliff Horr thought he knew every tennis player. Then one day last fall, Horr spotted a stranger on the Wolves' tennis courts.I saw this girl hitting against the wall, said Horr. Usually when I see someone new playing on our courts, I'll go over ask them if they would like to turn out for the team. Usually they will tell me I'm just visiting, or I'm from Oak Harbor.This time the newcomer was Sophie Carlsson, an exchange student from Sweden who was attending Coupeville for the 1999-2000 school year. After watching Carlsson hit around, Horr figured she could help the Coupeville girls' team this spring.I didn't know how good she really was until this spring, Horr said.There was one possible hitch to whether Carlsson could play for Coupeville. Horr and to find out if she would be eligible.In previous years, foreign exchange students have been prevented from competing on high school teams in the state. However, the rule was changed recently and foreign exchange students now can compete for high school teams in Washington.With Carlsson on the team, the Wolves have had another successful spring. How successful? Earlier this month Coupeville won the Northwest A League title for the third straight year. Before Carlsson joined the team, Horr wasn't sure the Wolves could accomplish that feat this spring.I lost six seniors off last year's team. I really thought this would be a rebuilding year, Horr said.Carlsson became the Wolves' No. singles player, which enabled Horr to move other players around.She just made us a much stronger team, Horr said.While making the Wolves tougher, Carlsson also established herself as the No. 1 player in the league. She won the league singles title last Saturday at Friday Harbor by defeating Friday Harbor's Allison Pemberton 6-4, 6-1.Thursday, Carlsson will take a 10-1 record into the Quad-district tournament, which is held at the University of Washington. If she wins three matches in a row, Carlsson will qualify for the state A tournament.I didn't have these kind of expectations, Carlsson said. I didn't think I would go this far.Carlsson is from Hollviken, a town of 7,000 in southern Sweden near Malmo. She attends a school of 2,000 students. However, high schools in Sweden do not have athletic programs. High school athletes have to join clubs to compete in sports.We have P.E., but no high school sports, Carlsson said.She began playing tennis at age seven.My friend and I decided to play tennis, said Carlsson, who had competed in just 10 matches before she came to Coupeville.Horr is amazed at her talent.She can definitely play this game, Horr said. She is a very, very good player.Besides playing tennis, Carlsson has enjoyed her year at Coupeville and no Whidbey Island.I like the landscape here, I like the people, Carlsson said. I liked the trips our tennis team took, especially to Friday Harbor.She admits it was a big step to leave her family in Sweden to come to the United States.I didn't know anyone at all here, she said,I had no idea what Coupeville was going to be like. I did find it on the map, though.Carlsson communicates with her parents almost every day by e-mail. Her father is an orthodontist and her mother is a teacher at a hospital.On June 27 Carlsson leaves for Sweden. Carlsson says I'm going to miss a lot of people from Coupeville. I'm going to have a lot of good memories.And going to the state tournament, could be one of those memories.WOLVES SEND THREE: Coupeville will have three girls competing in the Quad District tennis tournament, which begins Thursday at the University of Washington.Representing the Wolves are No. 1 singles player Sophie Carlsson, and doubles team, Bethany Horr and Jessica Boling.Carlsson, seeded No. 1 in the district tournament, qualified for the event by winning the No. 1 singles title at the Northwest A/B Tournament last weekend in Friday Harbor. She drew a first-round bye, then defeated Kelly Domico of Friday Harbor 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinals. Carlsson bested Allison Pemberton of Friday Harbor 6-4, 6-1 in the finals. Lily Dodge of Coupeville finished third. Dodge defeated Darrington's Linda Phillips 6-0, 6-0 in the first round, then dropped a tough 6-0, 7-6 (7-2) decision to Pemberton in the semifinals. Dodge took third by defeating Domico 6-4, 6-3.Horr and Boling earned their trip to Seattle through a long process. They finished third at Saturday's league doubles tournament in Darrington, but bounced back to beat their teammates Emily Horr and Claire Cobb in a district-qualifying match Monday. Emily Horr and Cobb were actually seeded No. 1 for the league doubles tournament and Bethany Horr and Boling were seeded No. 2. Both doubles teams earned first round byes. In the semifinals, Emily Horr and Cobb defeated Friday Harbor's Jill Wilson and Lindsey Spaulding 6-4, 6-4. Meanwhile, Bethany Horr and Boling lost to Darrington's Maree and Harmony Perrault 6-2, 7-5. Emily Horr and Cobb lost to the Perraults 6-4, 6-1 in the finals.In the finals of the losers' bracket, Bethany Horr and Boling defeated Wilson and Spaulding to set the stage for Monday's showdown. Bethany Horr and Boling, both ninth graders, then defeated Emily Horr and Cobb 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to earn the league's second doubles berth to district."

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