The Vashon girls’ tennis season got underway with the first two matches last week.
This year’s team enters the season as the defending Nisqually League champions with a mix of new and returning players. There are 22 players in all, and the team will need to rely on some of the more experienced players, having lost a lot of strong players who graduated.
On Thursday, the Pirates traveled to South Kitsap for their first match. The weather was great, which made for some excellent play. South Kitsap is a huge school; their tennis program is usually large and similar to the Pirates in skill levels. The match turned out to be quite close.
Lizzy Maciejewski returned at #1 singles and picked up a hard-fought win 6-1, 4-6 and 11-9 in a deciding tiebreaker. At #2 singles, Emme Osborne, who played her first singles match, dropped a close match in at third-set tiebreaker 6-1, 1-6, 3-10. The Pirates #1 doubles, Lizzie Sutherland/Tobin Vaughn, delivered a straightforward 6-0, 6-2 win, but South Kitsap quickly evened the score at #2 doubles, where Chana Gefkovicz/Lauren Henley played well but dropped their match in straight sets.
Vashon’s #3 doubles team, Paisley Lieske/Ava Butler, came through with a nice comeback win, losing the first set but then winning the next two for a 3-6, 6-4, 10-6 win, also allowing the varsity to win its first match of the season 3-2.
The Pirates’ JV teams were able to play twice because South Kitsap has so many players. The Pirate teams of Sara Cooper/Ashley Mcarthur, Lia Crawford/Lucy Mallory, Clara Atwell/Whitney Silkett, Aislin Pinckney/Nova Travers-Knoedler and Sequoia Gregorich all got in a lot of play time and experience. For the most part, they ended up getting about one win and one loss for the day.
On Saturday, the Pirates visited Stadium High for a rare weekend match. Vashon took a smaller team and ran into a sharp stadium team. Maciejewski played well, splitting the first two sets but dropping the third set in a 6-1, 1-6, 2-6 loss. Sutherland played her first singles match, at #2 singles, and ran into a tough, hard serving opponent, losing a tough 2-6, 2-6 match. Vashon’s #1 doubles team, Vaughn/Emme Osborne, got the lone win for Vashon, taking their match 6-0, 6-4. At #2 doubles, Lieske/Henley dropped their match 1-6, 1-6. The Pirate #3 doubles, Cooper/McArthur, played their first varsity match and lost a hard contest 3-6,2-6.
The Pirates lost the overall matchup 1-4 but gained experience and played well throughout. The Pirate JV teams again were able to play two matches against some really strong Stadium JV teams. All the Vashon players improved their play as the day went on; it was a valuable match for the team.
The Pirates have a busy week ahead, hosting their first home match against Granite Falls on Tuesday, after press time. On Thursday they have their first league contest, a home match against Cascade Christian. On Saturday, the Pirates host a four-team round robin event, including Puyallup, Emerald Ridge and Kentwood.
— Pat Mulvihill is a VHS tennis coach.