Tennis: Coupeville tops Friday Harbor, takes lead in league race

Coupeville No. 1 singles player Julia Sierra Castaño serves in her straight-set win Friday.  - Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times
Coupeville No. 1 singles player Julia Sierra Castaño serves in her straight-set win Friday.
— image credit: Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times

One down, one to go.

The Coupeville High School girls tennis team slipped by Friday Harbor 3-2 on the CHS courts Friday, April 16, to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series to determine the “league” champion.

The two schools are the only 1A girls tennis teams in the district and form their own two-team league. The winner of the best-of-three series claims the league title. The Wolves will need to win one of the next two matches with the Wolverines to nab the crown.

The pair will meet again Monday, April 26, at Friday Harbor, then finish the series in Coupeville Monday, May 3.

The Wolves continue nonleague action at Granite Falls next Monday, April 19, then return home to play Cavelero of Lake Stevens Wednesday, April 21, at 3:30 p.m.

In the win over Friday Harbor, Coupeville and the Wolverines were tied 2-2 as they waited for the third doubles competition to end to determine the team winner.

The Wolves’ Jessica Riddle and Amanda d’Almeida nipped Sierra Dawson and Fabi Bell 7-6(5) in he first set, then won the match and team competition with a 6-3 victory in the second set.

Coupeville coach Ken Stange said, “After getting down 1-4 in the first set, things weren't looking too good for Amanda and Jessica. Things weren't looking so good for the final team score as well.”

From there, the Coupeville freshmen “took over, winning five of the next seven games to force a tiebreaker. They took the early lead in the breaker and won the set.”

Coupeville also go wins from its No. 1 singles player and top doubles team.

In first singles action, Julia Sierra Castano defeated Rebecca Leff 6-1, 6-2 to remain undefeated. Castano has yet to drop a set this season.

In first doubles, Jessica Blanchette and Jordan Akins edged Hannah Snow and Jenny Dunn 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in a match Stange said, “We absolutely had to take if we were to win the day.”

The Coupeville pair looked strong in the first set, but dropped the second and split games to start the third set before dominating the end of the match.

Stange said, “They have struggled this season and decided that today was going to be the day they righted their ship, so to speak. They exerted themselves forcefully early, faced setbacks in the middle set, and persevered to come out on top in the end.”

In No. 2 singles, Friday Harbor’s Emma Ytander slipped by Marie Hesselgrave 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. In the third set Hesselgrave broke serve early to take the lead, but Ytander eventually evened the score at 3-3.

Stange said, “At that point, Marie suffered a knee injury. She took a few minutes and decided that she was able to continue. Emma took three of the final four games to win the point for Friday Harbor.”

Wolverines Alex MacDonald and Shanti Neff-Baro defeated Lily Doyle and Lexi Blanchette 6-3, 6-1 in second doubles.

Stange said, “Lily and Lexi put up a good fight, but Friday Harbor has always been known for having great doubles teams. Shanti and Alex have played No. 2 doubles for Friday Harbor for two years now. They are experienced and could easily be their team's No. 1 doubles team.”

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