Hailey Fischer reaches the district finals after a hard-fought battle in the semis

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JEFF GOODMAN - Sandys Hailey Fischer looks to make a baseline return during her title match Saturday at Tualatin Hills Recreation Center. Sandy tennis teammates Hailey Fischer and Christan Schlaht have been best friends for six years. To see them, you could easily mistake the pair for sisters, which is probably a more accurate way to classify their relationship. They have been through it all together, and now they have made history together.

Fischer and Schlaht became the first two girls’ singles players in school history to qualify for the state tournament. Fischer earned her spot with a 7-5, 7-6 win over Liberty’s Kayla David in the quarterfinals of the Northwest Oregon Conference district tournament. Schlaht claimed her place at state by roaring back from a one-set deficit in her quarterfinal to upset fourth-seeded Marissa Nichols from Liberty, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5. Fischer and Schlaht won their matches just seven minutes apart from one another.

“It’s state! It’s awesome to make it, but it’s so much better that we are going together,” Schlaht said.

Fischer advanced to the tournament championship by defeating Sherwood’s Allison Schwarm in the semifinals. Fischer struggled early and made several unforced errors to give Schwarm the lead, but she settled in, cleaned things up and bounced back to win the first set in the tiebreaker. The second set also went to a tiebreaker, but Schwarm had to retire due to an injury. Fischer finished second as she fell to Wilsonville’s Haley Moss in the finals.

Schlaht lost to top-seeded Moss in the semifinals, but went on to take third in the tournament when the injured Schwarm stayed sidelined. Both Pioneers agreed that the journey to this point has hit all points of the emotional spectrum.

“It’s been hard. Long. Exciting. Tiring. Exhausting,” Fischer said. “But worth it. We are obviously really happy.”

The sensational district finishes by Fischer and Schlaht capped the best season ever for the Sandy girls’ tennis team. The Pioneers took second place in regular season conference competition. Prior to this season, Sandy had never finished higher than third.

The Pioneers marquee win came against Wilsonville in mid-April. It was Sandy’s first team victory over Wilsonville in school history.

On the doubles side, Sawyer Kurtz and Emmaline Thatcher scored a pair of wins, including a 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 decision that sent them into the quarterfinals. Also picking up first-round wins were the Sandy tag teams of Ashley Krieger and Sydnie Robertson along with Phoenix Skellenger and Holly Stuart.

Sandy finished in a tie for second with Wilsonville at the tournament with 25 points, while Sherwood won the title with 42 points.

It has been a magical season for Sandy, to say the least. Best friends Fischer and Schlaht hope they can hold to that magic when they take to the courts on Thursday in the 5A state tournament. Fischer opens against No. 1 seed Chelsea Clark from West Albany, while Schlaht plays in the pigtail round against Crescent Valley senior Jessica Chen.

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