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Pacer girls battle WL to wire

by: Matt Sherman, Lakeridge’s Katie Gosewehr eyes a return shot during Tuesday’s TRL match against West Linn. The Pacers and the Lions both won four individual matches but West Linn was awarded the team victory because of a 10-9 advantage in sets won.

Tim Carmichael has the unenviable task of following an institution. Carmichael is the new Lakeridge girls tennis coach, taking the reins from Anni Miller, who was responsible for making the Pacers' name synonymous with dominant tennis teams.

Carmichael is a tennis professional at the Portland Tennis Center and played high school tennis at Lincoln High School. The good news for him is that he heads up a very talented team loaded with senior leadership.

'Over 30 girls came out to play this year and it's pretty easy to build a team when you have that many players swinging racquets,' Carmichael said.

Lakeridge possesses and extremely deep team this season, making the Pacers formidable in dual match situations. In non-league matches this year, Lakeridge has topped Centennial 7-1 and Tigard 8-0. Against the Tigers, the Pacers didn't drop a single set. Lakeridge also took on a very talented Tualatin team and lost 5-3.

In the team's first league match of the year, Lakeridge battled a strong West Linn team and some unseasonably cold weather and came within a heartbeat of coming away with an enormous victory.

The Pacers tied the Lions in matches but lost in sets 10-9 but it was an encouraging afternoon for the team.

'It was pretty brutal out there but overall I thought we gave a great effort,' Carmichael said.

Lakeridge lost the first four matches of the day but mounted an impressive rally and swept the third and fourth singles and doubles matches.

'We're very deep this year. That's definitely our strength,' Carmichael said.

Playing first singles for the Pacers this year is Katie Gosewehr, one of the team's most consistent players.

'Katie's game is to just get the ball in play. Her patience is her biggest weapon,' Carmichael said.

She dropped her match to West Linn's Danika Tonning 6-2, 6-2 while the team's second singles player Olivia Stark also fell.

In doubles, the number one team of Nikki Johns and Julie Irvine battled well against the Lions' top pair but also lost in straight sets while Stephanie Higgins and Katie Pearson stole a set at second doubles but couldn't quite come up with the victory.

But as the afternoon wore on, the Pacers started to rally. At third singles, Jillian Kay notched a straight set victory while Callie Harling was barely tested at fourth singles.

At third doubles, the team of Morgan Prince and Tara Nielson dropped the opening set 3-6 but rallied to win the next two 6-3, 6-2 and claim the match.

The deciding contest of the afternoon as also won of the most competitive. At fourth doubles, Mckenzie Ingram and Rachel Ellis lost the opening set 3-6 but took the second set 7-5. Then, because of the weather, the teams played a tiebreaker to 10 points to determine the match and Ingram and Ellis won 10-7.

That victory squared the match but West Linn held the advantage in sets.

'We knew West Linn would be pretty equal with us so we hope to get them next time,' Carmichael said.

The two teams will meet up again in April as the Pacers will face tough competition all year. Not only will Lakeridge take on West Linn and Lake Oswego twice, but the Pacers will also compete in the annual Jesuit Tournament.

Next up for Lakeridge is a league match today (Thursday) against Clackamas.