Singles sweep helps Wildcats avenge previous loss to Pioneers

by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Carolina Ramirez-Islas lines up a forehand shot on the No. 3 singles court during the Wilsonville girls tennis team's 6-3 win over Sandy at home April 29. Ramirez-Islas defeated Taylor Courtain 6-4, 6-1.It was the most important match of the season, and the Wilsonville girls tennis team rose to the occasion.

After falling to Sandy in the teams’ first meeting, the Wildcats engineered a 6-3 victory in the second meeting at home April 29 to pull into a tie with the Pioneers for first place in the Northwest Oregon Conference.

In a huddle following the match, first-year Wilsonville coach Kurt Casad praised his players for their performances against a squad that was previously undefeated in conference competition.

“This was a clutch match, and they knew it,” Casad said afterward. “I’m really proud of them.”

The match was highlighted by a singles sweep for the Wildcats, who put themselves in position to earn a share of their first league title in three seasons.

Star junior Haley Moss defeated Hailey Fischer 6-1, 6-0 in a rematch of last year’s NWOC singles championship, while standout freshman Keely Petticord cruised past Christan Schlaht on the second court, 6-4, 6-1.

Wilsonville senior Carolina Ramirez-Islas, who was not available for the first meeting with Sandy, earned a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Taylor Courtain. Her approach was conservative but effective: She repeatedly kept the ball in play, seemingly waiting for her opponent to make a mistake.

Maddy Kunstel rounded out the sweep with a 6-0, 6-2 decision over Kenna Joy.

The Wildcats (10-1, 9-1 in the NWOC) sealed their win with two points in doubles play. Tessa Kehoe and Makaela Press avoided a third set with a 6-3, 7-5 victory at No. 3, while No. 4 partners Jessica Small and Madi Wardle earned a 6-3, 6-0 triumph over Makaela Lindsey and Tori Eri.

'The total package'

During high school sporting events, the road teams’ bus drivers often don’t catch any of the action.

But when the Wildcats faced the Pioneers on the road April 10, their bus driver didn’t have any other assignments during the competition. And he realized there was a special talent on the top singles court.

“He came out of the bus and watched the match,” Casad said. “After watching it he said, ‘That was a real treat to watch her play.’”

The standout player, of course, was Moss, who asserted her position as the top singles player in the conference by soundly defeating Fischer.

Moss, a two-time state qualifier who fell to Eugene-Marist freshman Madisyn Bryant in last year’s Class 5A quarterfinals, is vying for her second-straight district singles title. She was the NWOC runner-up as a freshman two years ago.

But Moss, who practices and competes regularly beyond the high school ranks, is adamant about not setting results-based goals.

Her aim is two-pronged and simple: “To continue to improve my game and enjoy it out here,” she said. “That’s what keeps me playing.”

Now that Moss is an upperclassman, she has assumed a larger leadership role with the Wildcats and has enjoyed watching her teammates find success this year.

Her skills are strong and still developing.

“She’s the total package,” Casad said. “She’s got a good kick serve, solid ground strokes and solid volleys. She’s very sound fundamentally. She’s just a real pleasure to watch.”

From Whitman to Wilsonville

Casad didn’t have to look far when he could no longer ignore his desire to coach.

With his daughter, Julia, entering her senior season as a top doubles player at West Linn, Casad sought more involvement in the sport he’s played and taught for decades.

“I said, ‘I wonder if there’s anywhere I could help out,’” he said. “This was right in our district.”

Casad took Wilsonville’s reins from Jen Tinker, who left after two years at the helm to take a teaching position in Walla Walla, Wash.

Raised in Seattle, Casad played tennis during his time at Whitman College before attending Willamette University in Salem for law school. He’s been in Oregon ever since.

Two of Casad’s colleague in the NWOC, Parkrose coach Evan McFadden and Sandy coach Greg Thorson, also went to Whitman.



Wilsonville 6, Sandy 3

April 29 at Wilsonville High School


1. Haley Moss (W) d. Hailey Fischer 6-1, 6-0

2. Keely Petticord (W) d. Christan Schlaht 6-4, 6-1

3. Carolina Ramirez-Islas (W) d. Taylor Courtain 6-4, 6-1

4. Maddy Kunstel (W) d. Kenna Joy 6-0, 6-2


1. Emmy Thatcher/Sawyer Kurtz (S) d. Allie Bygland/Hanna Heilig 6-4, 6-0

2. McKenna Wells/Zewdi Cass (S) d. Michelle Chavez/Annie Lang 6-2, 6-3

3. Tessa Kehoe/Makaela Press (W) d. Grace Knapp/Tori Rund 6-3, 7-5

4. Jessica Small/Madi Wardle (W) d. Makaela Lindsey/Tori Eri 6-3, 6-0

5. Sidney Richards/Allison McJaughey d. Laura Shearer/Erin Egloff 6-4, 4-6 (ret.)


A look at how the Wildcats have fared in NWOC play:

April 2: WILSONVILLE 9, Parkrose 0

April 7: WILSONVILLE 9, Milwaukie 0

April 9: WILSONVILLE 8, Putnam 1

April 10: SANDY 6, Wilsonville 3

April 11: Wilsonville 5, SHERWOOD 4

April 14: WILSONVILLE 9, Liberty 0

April 21: Wilsonville d. ST. HELENS

April 28: Wilsonville 9, MILWAUKIE 0

April 29: WILSONVILLE 6, Sandy 3

April 30: Wilsonville 9, PUTNAM 0

By Jeff Goodman
Sports editor
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