Tigers win tennis playoff opener
Coach Dan Hannah wasn’t exactly sure to expect back in the summer when he looked at the Douglas High girls tennis team’s season prospects. Even though the Tigers were coming off a season in which they were undefeated en route to regular season and region tournament championships, Hannah knew a lot of work was in order to replace six starters in the lineup.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Tigers extended what has turned into another successful season with a 12-6 victory at home against Spanish Springs in opening round play of the Northern 4A Region Tournament. Douglas (8-3 league, 9-3 overall) advanced to the semifinals on Thursday at Bishop Manogue.
“We lost nine of our 15 players from last year, but we’ve made great progress (since the start of the season,” Hannah said.
Against Spanish Springs, the doubles teams of Angelina Stein-Natalie Smith and Shelby Casaus-Kelsey Carlson were both 3-0 on the day. Of those six wins, none was more important than the first-round set in which Stein and Smith outlasted Lexy Gehlert and Lanessa Romo, 7-6 (7-3).
That win enabled the Tigers to take a 4-2 lead at the end of the first round.
“It could have gone either way, but they played well in the tie-breaker,” Hannah said. “That was important, otherwise the first round would have been 3-3 and that would have put more pressure on our players. It’s always a lot easier to play from ahead.”
Casaus and Carlson won a close set, 6-4, against the Cougars’ Susie Cho and Emmy Whittaker. The Douglas duo improved its season record together to 20-9.
Douglas picked up its remaining six points in singles as Maggie Rich, Kylie Coziahr, and Kari Coziahr each went 2-1. Their only losses came at the hands of Spanish Springs sophomore Lauren Kreutzer, who is 32-2 this season and will be seeded No. 3 for the region singles tournament next week.
The Tigers face a formidable challenge to get past a Manogue team they lost to on Sept. 15 in Reno, 13-5. Manogue defeated McQueen in its playoff opener on Tuesday, 17-1. The semifinal match today starts at 3 p.m.
“That will be a tough one,” Hannah said. “We will take a look at our lineup and try to match up better than we did the first time we played them … to try and better use our strengths.”
The regional team finals will be played today at 3 p.m. at Caughlin Athletic Club in Reno.