The South Salem Women’s Tennis team made a strong showing in the three-day district championships, finishing tied for 2nd in the tournament. Despite several unfavorable seeding match-ups, the Saxons had successful performances from all 12 of their players.
Senior Jessa Miller returned from a season-long shoulder to win her first round match up to face the 2-seed and eventual 4th place finisher, Anya Gerasimova (West Salem). Miller pushed Gerasimova to a 1st set tiebreaker but lost in points. She started strong in the second set but experienced severe should discomfort and eventually lost 7-6, 6-2. The Saxons also received first round wins from Freshman Mariana Rey-Rosa who battled a migraine to beat McMinville’s Zelmira Stevens 6-4, 6-4 and Junior Olivia Webster who beat McMinville’s Jordan Burgess 6-1, 6-1. Both Rey-Rosa and Webster faced seeded opponents in the next round and despite playing their best tennis of the season, lost in straight sets. Saxon Senior Arianna Burtis faced 4-seed and eventual 3rd place finisher in her first round match-up, playing well and visually frustrating her opponent on many shots. Burtis went deep in many points but lost 6-1, 6-0. She found success in the consolation bracket, beating North Salem’s #1 Kaitlyn Cranston in the second round. Burtis then lost a heartbreaker quarterfinal match-up against West Salem’s Ashley Owre.
The Saxon Doubles showed off their skill, with three of the four pairings winning their first round match-ups. The only loss came when sophomores Selbie Christensen and Chloe Elmore lost their opening round pigtail match-up to Sprague’s Clark and Olson. They then went into the consolation bracket and dominated their next match up against North Salem’s Gutierrez and Garcia. They eventually lost in a quarterfinal tiebreaker to McKay’s Coria/Lam pairing. One of the three opening round doubles wins came from seniors Megan Edelblute and Chandler Wren who won their pigtail match up against North Salem’s Staudinger/Cortez . They then advanced to the next round by beating West Salem’s Comacho and Morrison 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Their next opponents were one of the many West Albany buzzsaws, who knocked the Saxon duo out of the tournament 6-2, 6-0. Junior Kaitlyn Paluska and Senior Karli Scoggins proved to be a successful pairing for the Saxons, winning their first two round match ups against North Salem’s Fowler and Tsera and McMinnville’s Sully and Stephens (6-2, 6-3). They then faced the 1-seed and eventual district champion from West Albany, Reyner and Clark in the quarterfinal. Despite the 3-6, 2-6 result, the Saxon pairing proved to be the best match up to that point for the Bulldog duo, pushing them deep into points and games.
The most impressive finish for the Saxons came from twins Loryn and Jillian Studer. Staving off multiple medical complications, Loryn and Jillian cruised through their first three match – ups to earn a semi-final match up against McMinnville and qualification for the State Tournament next weekend. In front of a strong Saxon contingent, the Studers showed how dominant they can be as a pairing, besting their semi-final opponents Avari Ridgway and Shay Bristow to gain a shot at the district title against West Albany. With the ailments intensifying, both Loryn and Jillian battled hard in the final match but eventually lost in a 2nd set tiebreaker 1-6. 6-7. The duo look to recover from a very taxing last two matches and perform well at next week’s State Championships in Tualatin.