Tennis: The Wildcats come away with a 5-3 win in a match-up between the top teams in the NWOC
WILSONVILLE - They're the two best girls tennis teams in the Northwest Oregon Conference, if not all of Class 5A.
And for the second time this season, Wilsonville proved to be a touch better, though Sherwood can take solace in knowing the gap narrowed from their first meeting.
The Wildcats swept the singles matches and fought off the feisty Bowmen for a 5-3 victory on Monday at Wilsonville High School. The Wildcats won the first meeting 7-1 and had their hands full fending off Sherwood this time around.
'We would've liked to see 4-4, but I was proud of our kids,' Bowmen coach Jim Krauel said. 'They're the best (5A) team in the state from a dual standpoint. We're still trying to catch them. They've always had our number and have tradition but we're getting closer.'
Wilsonville stayed atop the NWOC at 13-0 and 17-0 overall with non-league wins over traditional powers Ashland and Churchill. Sherwood is 11-2 in league - both losses coming to the Wildcats, the first in early April.
In that match, Bowmen seniors Katie Patterson and Melany Boulton suffered their only defeat at No. 1 doubles, dropping a pair of tiebreakers in a three-set loss to Wilsonville's Allison and Kristen Petsche. Sherwood's duo anticipated a rematch Monday but settled for a 6-4, 6-4 win over previously unbeaten Taylor Farrell and Taylor Hughes, who moved up to first doubles in an effort to earn the No. 2 seed for the district meet.
The plan looked to pay off early as Farrell and Hughes led 3-0 in the first set. But, starting with Boulton's ace on gamepoint, the Bowmen duo ran off four straight points - the final two by love tallies.
'We started slow but were confident we would come back,' said Boulton, who qualified for state in 2007 with graduated doubles partner Miranda McGee.
'We were just working out the kinks in the first few games,' said Patterson, adding the wet weather has restricted practice time.
The Wildcats broke Boulton's serve but Sherwood moved ahead 5-4 then finished the first set. Patterson sent a well-placed winner past Wilsonville's net player, Boulton blasted one through from the net and the Wildcats returned Patterson's forehand shot into the net on set point for a 6-4 Sherwood win.
The second set was also back and forth with Wilsonville taking a 2-1 lead before Patterson's steady serve and baseline play made it 2-2.
'It's refreshing playing doubles again. There's more court to work with,' said Patterson, who took fourth in the state for singles in 2007 before joining forces with best friend Boulton this season. '(Melany's) an all-star at the net and I'm used to being on the baseline so it's been beneficial.'
The Bowmen broke the Wildcats' serve for a 3-2 lead after Boulton battled from the baseline, hitting forehands corner to corner with Wilsonville before blasting a winner down the right sideline. Sherwood later led 4-3 on Boulton's quick return at the net.
The Bowmen moved ahead 5-4 then closed the match. Boulton chased down a ball and dropped it cleanly in the back corner for a 15-love lead. She added a sideline winner and Patterson an overhead winner at the net before Boulton's ace finished off the Wildcats.
'It's always nice to win but we really wanted to play the Petsche sisters,' Boulton said. 'We've definitely improved since then.'
'We saw what we needed to do when we played them and have been working on that in practice,' Patterson said. 'Our goal is to win the state championship.'
'It will be tough, but we feel we can do it,' Boulton added.
The Petsche sisters, the No. 3 seed in the 2007 state doubles bracket, beat Bowmen seniors Kimmy Adams and Anne McCreery 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 doubles.
All three of Sherwood's wins came in doubles play with sophomores Morgan Lushenko and Hayley Baker rallying from a first-set loss to beat Wilsonville's Caroline Miolla and Amber Carney 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 at No. 3 doubles. Bowmen juniors Abby Wolf and Amanda Meyer handed the Wildcats' fourth doubles duo of Catherine Miolla and Hilary Parmeter their first loss of the season 7-6, 6-3.
'I was really happy with our four doubles,' Krauel said. 'They're a new duo and played really well.'
The Bowmen battled in singles play, but came away winless. Wilsonville's No. 1 Abby Farrell, a regionally ranked freshman, beat Sherwood senior Meagan Anderson 6-0, 6-0.
After being swept in the first set and trailing 4-1 in the second, Bowmen senior Ashley Lund rallied to force a 5-5 tie but fell 6-0, 7-5 to Alisha Hansen at No. 2 singles. Wildcat Shannon Cassidy, a 2007 state singles qualifier, beat Kerri Anderson 6-2, 7-5 despite the Sherwood senior's comeback down 4-1 in the second set of the No. 3 singles match. Wilsonville capped the sweep with Cortney Wikle winning 7-5, 6-2 over Bowmen senior Courtney Puckett at No. 4.
'I'm disappointed but also pretty happy with how we played,' Krauel said. 'If we could've gotten one of those singles matches...I'd like to do those two, three and four singles matches over again.'
Sherwood concluded the dual season yesterday (Wednesday) against Glencoe (results not available as of the Times' press deadline). The NWOC district meet is set for Tuesday through Thursday at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.