Seniors Carroll and Struck bow to champs from Vale in semifinals, recover

by: Photo By Brian Liebenstein - Emily Struck returns a shot for Madras High's number one doubles team on which she pairs with Lindsay Carroll during Saturday's Madras tournament. Struck and Carroll earned first in the consolation bracket.

   A consolation crown claimed by number one doubles team Emily Struck and Lindsay Carroll highlighted Saturday's showings by Madras High's girls tennis team in its own Invitational.
   Vanessa Conner, the number one singles player for Madras, reached the same spot in the tournament bracket as Struck and Carroll but lost her battle for the consolation title to Crook County's Allison Lent, 8-3.
   Like all the Madras Invitational matches, Conner's and Lent's was played using the "pro set" scoring system. In that format, one set to eight games determines a winner. High schools can use that format or a more traditional two of three sets match in which six games wins a set.
   Started as a true double-elimination event, the tournament was sped up when the length of some matches caused progress toward the planned championship matches to lag.
   To both get Vale and Burns, which had come the farthest, headed home at a more reasonable time and let players who were showing effects of the day's warmth not have to play quite as many matches, a change was made. Lori Stock, the Madras coach, gathered the coaches to decide a solution. A modification in which the winners' bracket final determined first and second while the consolation bracket final decided third was arrived at.
   Carroll and Struck beat Crook County twins Roxanne Rich and Rachel Rich, 8-1, in the consolation finals in the doubles tournament.
   With wins in the first two matches they played, by scores of 8-1, against Redmond's number three team, and 8-2, against Vale's number two team, Struck and Carroll drew a district nemisis in Vale's number one team of Rachel Carmichael and Vicky Sanchez in the semifinals.
   Carmichael and Sanchez won 8-4, but it was a long match.
   "we could have beat them," Carroll said. A number of the games reached deuce and beyond before being decided, both the Madras seniors noted.
   It took more strong play for Struck and Carroll to stay alive after their first loss as they ran into Redmond's top duo of Moore and Geil. The teams duplicated one another's service breaks or held serves for most the match before Carroll and Struck took the 14th game to win 8-6.
   Each team participating was limited to three singles and three doubles entries. Since some schools did not field a full contingent, byes were drawn into the brackets randomly.
   Madras picked up all its win in the doubles portion of the event from Struck and Carroll but both number two team Erica Henderson and Katy Wunsch and number three team Olivia Davis and Melissa Danzuka showed promise for Madras.
   Henderson and Wunsch turned in what was the most closely competed match of the entire first round of the event. In a nearly hour-long battle with Summit's number two team of Katie Smoldt and Hillary Jacobs, Wunsch and Henderson finished the 14th game 7-7, forcing the use of a 12-point tiebreaker. Jacobs and Smoldt had to pull out a 9-7 win in the tiebreaker to beat Wunsch and Henderson 8-7.
   The tired Madras duo drew the Crook County tandem of Hoke and McCormack, who needed another tiebreaker win to beat the determined but sidetracked Madras pair. Though forcing another 7-7 tie, Wunsch and Henderson ran out of stamina in the tiebreaker, falling 7-1.
   In some of their first competition as Madras athletes, Davis and Danzuka got a taste of the challenge of tournament play. They fell to Redmond's number 2 unit, 8-4, then to the number two pair from Crook County, 8-5.
   In the singles, her White Buffalo teammates complemented Conner but failed to go as far as her in their brackets.
   Yet, Natasha Edwards, at number two, and Nichole Stovall, at number three, each showed they could be spoilers for any Madras foes who overlook them as the season progresses.
   Edwards and Stovall both fell into the consolation bracket earlier than Conner, but both picked up wins. Conner made her way into the championship semifinals before earning her way into the consolation championship.
   Saturday's first-round action in the singles tourney was quite handily controlled by most the winners, but one match had four games won by the player who was bumped into the consolation bracket.
   Stovall played her way into the round with 16 slots via an 8-1 win over Burns' Sharanya Kanikkanna, also her team's number three singles player. But Stovall's efforts to join Conner and Edwards in making the championship round of eight could only claim three games in a battle with Redmond's Star Loy, her team's number two.
   Edwards boosted her and her teammates' confidence for later in the season by blanking Vale's Karissa Nelson, 8-0.
   Conner conquered Summit's number two, Amy Brending, 8-2, for her first win and first of two appointments against Crook County's number three, Lent. While beating her to make the semifinals against Crook County's Shyla Hargrave -- the eventual champion -- Conner could quite beat Lent later.
   After beating Crook County's number three, 8-6, Conner couldn't conquer the Prineville school's best. Hargrave claimed an 8-1 in the semifinal before showing superiority in an 8-2 win in the finals against Redmond's Kelly Sides.
   The Madras girls played at Mt. View on Tuesday, April 1, after Pioneer deadlines and have a head-to-head match with Redmond coming up at home Monday, April 7.
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