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Warriors whip Lions in girls state tennis

The third-ranked Washington girls tennis team showed it will be a force to be reckoned with at next week’s 2A state championship by whitewashing Linn-Mar, 5-0, Tuesday afternoon in the first round of the state tournament at the Veterans Memorial Tennis Center.

The Warriors advanced to the final field of four by posting straight set wins in singles matches. The sixth match was stopped with the team victory in hand.  No doubles matches were played.

The state team championship will be contested on Saturday, June 4, in Iowa City. Singles and doubles competition is June 2-3.

In claiming its first team state tournament berth since 1998, Washington (17-3) had little trouble with Linn-Mar (11-5).

The closest and longest match pitted Warrior ninth grade phenom Rina Moore against Lions sophomore Ashley Smith.  After nearly 90 minutes of hard-fought play, Moore prevailed, 6-3, 7-5. The win raised her season mark to 18-2, with one of the losses coming to top-seeded junior teammate Katie Hammond in the regional singles finals.

In her match Tuesday against Linn-Mar’s top ranked junior Katie Rakers, Hammond withstood a tough 6-3 opening set and cruised 6-0 in the second to set the stage for Washington’s shutout.  It was a battle between two friends. Both work in the Elmcrest Country Club tennis shop.  The only other time they’d faced each other on the court, however, Hammond had whipped her pal 10-2 in a dual meet earlier this year that Washington won, 8-1.

“I started out a little slow,” Hammond said after Tuesday's match. “Then I kind of relaxed and began making some shots.”

Hammond has won the regional singles title the last two years and finished seventh in the state last year.

“Making it to the top four as a team is huge for us,” she said. “We’ll have some tough matches, but I think we’ve got a chance to win it all.”

Besides losing this year to undefeated Class 1A powerhouse Waterloo Columbus, Washington’s only other blemish was a 6-3 team loss to undefeated 2A top-ranked Iowa City West in a dual meet.

“We’re a young team with four juniors, a sophomore and a freshman,” said Warrior Coach Dan Reyner, in his 11th year as head coach.  “But the girls have really come together with a lot of hard work. And they all get along great. Getting this far is a tremendous reward for the effort they’ve put in all year.”

In addition to vying for the team title next week, Washington will be represented by Hammond and Rina Moore in singles and the doubles team of junior Olivia Brooks and sophomore Kristin King. Brooks and King have won the regional title the last two years. They finished 13-3 in dual meets this season.

While Linn-Mar’s team competition ended, Rakers and fellow junior Jenna Myers qualified in doubles for the state meet by finishing second in the regionals. They are 9-4 for the year.


Washington 5, Linn-Mar 0

Katie Hammond (W) def. Katie Rakers,  6-3, 6-0
Kristin King (W) def. Jenna Myers, 6-3, 6-1
Olivia Brooks (W) def. Haley Madsen, 6-4, 6-1
Rina Moore (W) def. Ashley Smith, 6-3, 7-5
Lanie Sabin (W) def. Emily Berry, 6-0, 6-0

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 May 2011 21:32 )  

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