One thought crossed Madelyn Landerfelt’s mind on Thursday after picking up her set-point winner for the Douglas High girls tennis team in what had been a hard-fought test against Meta Zagar of Damonte Ranch.
“That was a relief to win it,” Landerfelt said after winning her final point at the end of a 30-hit rally. “I didn’t want to go to deuce.”
Very understandable at the end of an hour-long No. 1 singles set which the Douglas freshman won 7-5 to preserve her perfect regular season record and clinch the Sierra League’s No. 1 seed going into the Northern Division I Regional Tournament. Landerfelt defeated three Damonte Ranch opponents to put the finishing touches on her 24-0 regular season record.
And the Douglas girls team remained perfect as well thanks to its 16-2 victory at home against the Mustangs on a cool, sunny autumn afternoon. The Tigers improved their season record to 9-0 on Tuesday with an 18-0 win against Spanish Springs in the first round of the regional team tournament.
Douglas now advances in the bracket to host the McQueen-Bishop Manogue victor in the semifinals 3 p.m. on Thursday. Two wins earns the right to play in the finals on Friday, possibly against undefeated and defending regional champion Reno.
“We have to make it to Friday,” Douglas assistant coach Jenny Unger said. “We don’t want to think ahead. We have a match tomorrow, Spanish Springs, we’re focused on that. Only then can we think about taking whoever wins on Thursday.”
Against Damonte Ranch, Landerfelt rallied from two deficits and a pulled away from a 5-5 score to outlast the power-hitting Zagar. The Mustangs’ sophomore, a regional tournament singles quarterfinalist in 2012, came back after losing the first game to take leads of 2-1 and 3-2. Landerfelt changed up her game after that fifth game, according to Susan Cowan, the Tigers’ head coach, and Unger.
“We told her to start playing her game and start playing offensively, which is what she did exactly,” Unger said. “She started going for her shots.”
With Zagar serving, Landerfelt came from behind to win the seventh game and take a 4-3 lead. She went up 5-3, only to see Zagar rally back to pull even at 5-5.
Patience was a key, Cowan noted.
“We wanted her to be a little more patient and let the other player make the errors,” Cowan said. “She mixed it up really well, too. She would mix it up to set up the winner.”
Added Unger: “Her mental toughness is where it needs to be.”
Landerfelt simply wanted to express her gratitude to her coaches and those who have provided support along the way.
“I want to thank Sue Cowan and Ginny Unger, my coaches for their support and advice,” she acknowledged, “my teammates and parents for their encouragement, Dereck Barracloujh for being my hitting partner and especially Bill Welch, my coach.”
Courtney McKimmey won all three of her singles matches to finish her league season with one loss and with a shot at the league’s No. 2 seed into the regional tournament. The senior’s regular season record stands at 23-1 — 46-2 for the past two seasons.
Freshman Maggie Rich also won two of her three sets, losing only 6-4 against Zagar in the second round.
The doubles team of seniors Katelin Teigen-Kelly Sonnemann as well as Bryana McNamara-Ingrid Carlson won three times. The two Douglas teams finished the regular season with respective records of 25-2 and 22-2.
Note: The regional individual tournament begins next Wednesday, Oct. 16, at Carson High School. The singles matches are scheduled for 2 p.m. and doubles at 4 p.m.