The South Salem Women’s Tennis team clinched the Greater Valley Conference District Tournament on Saturday, adding hardware to their already accomplished season. The Saxons capped off an impressive team season, winning both the Dual Match championship and tournament championship.
All 12 participants provided stellar performances throughout the three day tournament. Play opened Thursday in McMinnville and concluded Saturday at Salem Tennis and Swim Club in front of a lively crowd, where the Saxons were crowned champions by earning 31 total team points. West Albany finished 2nd and McMinnville and Sprague tied for 3rd.
Hannah Leichty (10) drew the number 2 seed overall, Hannah Childress, for her first match. Leichty took 3 games off Childress in the first set, the most anyone was able to win until Childress faced South’s Abby Fedor in the semi-finals. The first round loss (3-6, 0-6) sent Leichty into the Consolation bracket where she beat her next 4 opponents by a total of 34-14 games to advance to the consolation championship. She faced last year’s quarter-finalist, Katherine Perez (12) from McNary, in the final. Leichty took the first set 7-5 and was serving for the match in the 2nd set. However, Perez’ experience kicked in and she took the next two sets. Despite the tough loss, Leichty finishes the season on a strong note and provided the team with 2 needed points in the tournament.
Mariana Rey Rosa (11) opened tournament play facing Leichty’s final opponent, Perez (McNary). Rey Rosa’s 6-1, 6-4 win advanced her into the 2nd round where she faced Forest Grove’s Emily Lester. Two sets later (6-, 6-3), Rey Rosa moved into the quarterfinals. Waiting for her was number 1 seed overall and two-time GVC champion, Ceanne Elliot (West Albany). Rey Rosa played a brilliant match, pushing Elliot into several deuce games. Elliot proved her dominance though, beating Rey Rosa 6-0, 6-1. The quarterfinal finish for Rey Rosa scored 4 total points for the team.
Esha Puri (9) earned the number 4 overall seed in the singles bracket, opening play against West Salem’s Eliza Moore. Puri won in straight sets 6-1, 6-1 and then faced McMinnville’s 4th singles player, Leslie Wallace who she beat 6-0, 6-0. The win advanced Puri into the quarterfinals where she faced Sprague’s Eva Hammond, the 5th seed in the tournament. It was the second meeting on the season for Puri and Hammond. In the first, Puri topped Hammond in three sets, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3. However, despite Puri serving for the match in the 3rd set, Hammond found the winning recipe, ending Puri’s impressive freshman season 7-5, 2-5, 7-6. The match was surely a preview for years to come for the skilled freshmen. Like Rey Rosa, the quarterfinal finish added 4 more points for the Saxon team.
Abby Fedor (10) was awarded the number 3 seed in the singles bracket, adding to her 4th place finish in the GVC tournament last season as a freshman. Her first round opponent was West Albany’s Grace Getsfrid. Fedor won in straight sets 6-0, 6-0, advancing to face Sprague’s Caitlyn Joye, who Fedor then beat 6-1, 6-0. In the quarterfinals, Fedor faced overall 6-seed, Jacqueline Frawley from Forest Grove. Frawley proved to be Fedor’s toughest opponent of the first three rounds though Fedor still won in straight sets 6-0, 6-3. The win moved Fedor into the semi-finals and gave her her 2nd straight State Championship birth. In the semi’s, Fedor faced 2-seed Hannah Childress. Staving off foot and hand blisters, Fedor pushed Childress to the brink in the first set, eventually losing 5-7. Childress, a powerful 2nd-set player, took the next set 6-2. The loss meant Fedor would face Puri’s quarterfinal opponent, Eva Hammond in the 3rd place match. Fedor won that match, 6-3, 6-2 to finish 3rd and add 7 points to the team total.
In all, the Saxons scored an impressive 17 points on the singles side.
Maddy Hadden (11) and Emma Hurley (10) filled the 4-doubles spot for the Saxons in the tournament. They drew the Nguyen/Tenorio duo from McKay in the first found. A 6-1, 6-1 win vaulted Hurley and Hadden into a 2nd round match up with eventual District Champions, Ridgeway and Gilliat from McMinnville. Though the Saxons did everything they could to minimize the towering skill of their Mac opponents, they lost 6-0, 6-3. The 2nd round loss meant Hurley and Hadden scored 2 points for the Saxons and were done in the tournament.
Lucy Partridge (11) and Meg Takara (12) drew a similar spot in the bracket as Hadden and Hurley, opening with a first round match up against Forest Grove’s Pina/Fasching. Partridge and Takara played a great match, winning 6-3, 6-3. The tough draw meant their 2nd round opponent was the tournament’s overall 1 seed from West Albany, Tia Bitz and Trillium Bristow, who won the match 6-1, 6-1. The loss proved fruitful though, earning the Saxon duo 2 points for the team score.
Catherine Hu (12) and Janie Lapray (10) drew an opening round pigtail match against McKay’s number 1 duo, Coria/Pham. The Saxons used consistency and net play to move into the 1st round with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory. They then faced eventual 4th place finishers Farnes and Watte from West Albany. The lost (4-6, 6-0, 3-6) sent Hu and Lapray into the Consolation bracket. Like Leichty on the singles side, Hu and Lapray won three straight matches to get into the championship. Again, their consistency and net play overpowered their Sprague opponents, as Hu and Lapray won 6-4, 6-5. The win earned them the 5th place tournament finish and meant the Saxons added 3 points to their team score.
Kellie McSween (12) and Selbie Christensen (12) earned the 5th overall seed in the tournament, opening play on Thursday against the same Smith and Walker team that Hu and Lapray beat in the Consolation final. McSween and Christensen started shaky, needing three sets to win 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. They then faced West Albany’s 4th doubles team, Hamilton and Watte who they beat 6-1, 6-3 to move into the quarterfinals. With a birth into the State Tournament on the line, the Saxons faced the tournament’s 4-seed, Thornburg and Angevine from McMinnville who had beat the Saxons two weeks ago in league play. McSween and Christensen peaked just at the right time, dominating their Grizzly opponents, 6-2, 6-0 earning a spot in the semi-finals and State Tournament. In the semi’s, McSween and Christensen faced overall 1-seed, Bitz and Bristow. Three sets later, the Saxons pulled off the upset of the tournament 6-2, 2-6, 6-1. The win put McSween into the final, the third straight year South has had a doubles duo represented in the final match. The Saxons faced McMinnville’s Ridgeway and Gilliat who were the overall 2-seed. The first set was back and forth, with each team proving why they were in the final two. After two sets though, Ridgway and Gilliat earned the championship, beating McSween and Christensen 6-4, 6-2. The 2nd place finish added the final 7 points to the Saxons team score.
With doubles wrapped up, the Saxons added 14 points to their singles total, finishing at 31 overall, beating West Albany by 2.
Fedor opens State Championship play at 8:00AM on Thursday against freshman Eryn Fiabane from Wilson High School. Fiabane finished 4th overall in the Portland Interscholastic League tournament.
McSween and Christensen play shortly after, at 8:45 against the 3rd place finisher in the Mt. Hood Conference from David Douglas.