The Lady Bulldogs tennis team battled hard against larger, more experienced teams at Junction City on April 9 and at Willamette on April 12, while a boys’ match scheduled for April 8 at Springfield was canceled because of rain.
In the No. 1 singles match at Junction City, Brooklyn Grubbs lost to her opponent 1-6, 0-6. In the No. 2 match, Emme Whitson lost 2-6, 0-6; in the No. 3 match, Makaela Seiber battled before falling 2-6, 6-2, 2-6; and in the No. 4 match, Carley Wilkerson lost 1-6, 0-6.
”The scores don’t reflect how the matches really went,” noted Creswell Head Coach Tyler Hollingsworth. ”Emme and Makaela both had a lot of close games.”
In the No. 1 doubles match, Grubbs and Whitson lost 2-6, 0-6; in the No. 2 match, Seiber and Jillian Greenfield lost 2-6, 2-6; in the No. 3 match, Wilkerson and Tara Keepers fell 1-6, 1-6; and in the No. 4 match, Virginia Laird and Amanda O’Reilly lost 1-6, 2-6.
”The girls competed hard, but Junction City’s a very well-established team,” Hollingsworth said. ”They’ve got about 22 girls and have had as many as 40 in the last few years; that’s a lot for a 4A school. But their coach has been coaching there for 14 years, so that’s what happens when you can really build a program.”
At Willamette, Grubbs lost the No. 1 singles match 2-6, 0-6, but the Lady Dawgs got closer in the lower-level matches: Seiber lost the No. 2 match 4-6, 4-6; O’Reilly lost the No. 3 match 6-4, 6-7, 4-10 (the final tiebreaker was played to 10); and Wilkerson lost the No. 4 match 1-6, 3-6.
Kylee Whitson and Emme Whitson dropped the No. 1 doubles match 0-6, 2-6; Grubbs and Greenfield lost the No. 2 match 3-6, 3-6; Wilkerson and Keepers fell 3-6, 2-6 in the No. 3 match; and Laird and O’Reilly lost the No. 4 match 4-7, 6-7.
”Willamette also has a very large team with about 22 girls; they’re definitely a solid team all the way around,” Hollingsworth said. ”But there were some highly competitive matches with really good rallies of eight or 10 shots; there were probably four matches where I thought we might win.”
Currently in its second year, the Bulldog tennis team is hampered by inexperience at the top levels – but that will change as the program grows.
”Every team is better than we are at the one and two spots because those are typically juniors or seniors who have been playing for two or three years,” Hollingsworth said. ”Our best is more like their three/four players, because we don’t have the experience that other teams do, but our lower levels are more evenly matched because those tend to be newer players. So hopefully with a couple more years of development we’ll see that improvement.”