Despite losses, Buff tennis team looks good enough in season opening matches

Madras girls tennis coach Dave Jordan has been part of plenty of opening weeks over the years. So when the White Buffalos began the 2014 season with a pair of losses, Jordan took it all in stride.

The Buffs opened the season with a close 5-3 loss to Class 5A Bend High last Tuesday and followed that up with a 6-2 loss to Ridgeview.

But all in all, it was a good start, Jordan said.

“I was actually pretty pleased with Bend,” Jordan said. “I know we lost 5-3 but it could have been 3-5 (in Madras’ favor).”

The Buffs had two opportunities to turn the match into their favor.

Pali Kaloi Jordan pushed her opponent to a tiebreaker at the No. 4 singles match before falling 6-7, 6-2, 1-0 while Lorena Alonso and Wendy Galan came close to forcing a tiebreaker in the No. 2 doubles match

Had Madras taken both, the match would have ended up tied, needing a tiebreaker to decide it.

Despite the loss, Jordan said his girls got exactly what they needed and what he was looking for out of the match. Bend has been traditionally stronger than Madras and to play it close, especially right out of the gate, is a good sign.

But there is also plenty of work to be done.

“We need to work on consistent serving (which the Buffs did during Friday’s practice session). I think if we had had a little bit better serving, we would have had better results,” Jordan said. “We didn’t really struggle (as a team), but we could have been better. It’s early in the season, and the girls just haven’t grooved their serves yet.”

But that, with time and practice, will come, Jordan said.

Madras’ Itzel Romero had a rough go over the two matches.

At No. 1 singles, she was paired with returning district champ in the match against Bend and also faced a tough opponent in Riley Hanks of Ridgeview. Romero dropped both, but Jordan said those matches will only make Moreno stronger as the season progresses.

“She had a couple of tough matches, but she has been playing hard and working at it and she’s going to get better and better,” Jordan said. “It’s going to really help her once we get into (Class 4A Special District 2) play. It will make her a lot stronger player.”

That’s the main reason Jordan loads his early season schedule with area Class 5A schools, the competition poses big challenges for most of his kids and allows them to see just how good they need to be.

Megan Forristall, playing at No. 2 singles, opened her year by splitting her matches.

The Buffs junior varsity team posted some impressive wins against both Bend and Ridgeview, and Jordan said he was pleased with that. With a little bit of confidence, some of those players may start contending for varsity spots.

“They are coming along; they are learning,” Jordan said. “Most of them haven’t played before, so we have two or three possibilities.”

One of those junior varsity players that has already taken a big step is Jennifer Ruiz, who stepped up to fill a varsity spot against Ridgeview. Ruiz, a freshman playing at No. 4 singles, beat Yohandra Chavez, 6-3, 6-4.

Also against Ridgeview, the Buffs’ Jessica Gonzalez pulled out a tough win at No. 3 singles, downing Shelby Smith 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).

“We’ve had lots of close matches and lots of challenges for the kids,” Jordan said. “We’re fortunate to play some of these local 5A schools, so I’m not disappointed at all.”

Madras faced Sisters on Tuesday and will be back in action April 1 against Redmond.

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