Mollie Freel, playing singles this year, helps Tualatin beat Tigard

by: DAN BROOD - EYE ON THE BALL -- Tualatin High School senior Mollie Freel looks to hit a shot during her No. 1 singles match with Tigard sophomore Ayumi Mizuno in last Thursday's match. Freel won 6-3, 6-0 to help the Wolves score an 8-0 victory. TUALATIN — For the past few of years, Mollie Freel has been part of a sister act.

A really successful sister act.

Freel, and her older sister Megan, reached plenty of accomplishments teaming up for doubles play for the Tualatin High School girls tennis team. The sister duo won a Pacific Conference district doubles championship two years ago and they’ve played in the Class 6A state tournament each of the past two seasons.

But, with Megan graduating in 2012, Mollie Freel, a Tualatin senior, decided to take her game to singles competition this year — and she’s doing just fine.

Freel is off to a perfect start to the 2013 season, as she moved to 3-0 by scoring a 6-3, 6-0 win over Tigard sophomore Ayumi Mizuno in No. 1 singles play when the Timberwolves hosted the rival Tigers in a Pacific Conference contest last Thursday at Tualatin High School.

“It’s very different,” Freel said following her victory. “Playing singles is something I’ve thought about for awhile, but I’d never pass up the chance to play with my sister.”

While things may be different for Freel this year, things seem to be staying the same for the Tualatin girls squad. The Timberwolves, who have won 12 straight league championships, moved to 3-0 in Pacific Conference play by scoring an 8-0 win over the Tigers.

“It’s going really good,” said Tualatin senior Eloise Loen, who picked up a win at No. 2 singles in last Thursday’s match. “We’re a really close team.”

“This is just the third match, but we’re doing really well,” Freel said.

The young Tigard team, which is showing plenty of promise for the future, moved to 2-1 in conference matches with the setback.

“We have great teamwork,” Tigard junior Courtney Roshak said. “We have good communication and bonding, and we all love each other. We all cheer each other on, and that makes it fun.”

Loen and Roshak matched up in a No. 2 singles contest that was maybe the most competitive, and most spirited match of the day, with Loen coming out on top by a 6-4, 6-3 score.

“That was fun,” said Loen, who was the runner-up in singles play at last year’s Pacific Conference district tournament. “There were some good points.”

“It was awesome,” Roshak said.

Roshak got off to a strong start to the match, as she took a quick 3-1 lead in the opening set. Roshak was holding a 4-3 lead in the first set when Loen came storming back, winning three games in a row to earn a 6-4 first-set victory.

The second set went back and forth as well. Roshak took a 2-1 lead, but Loen won the next two games to go up 3-2. Roshak won the next game to tie the set, but Loen again closed things out by winning the final three games, wrapping up her 6-4, 6-3 win.

“That was really fun, and I gave her a little bit of a run,” Roshak said. “When I got momentum, I tried to keep it going.”

“I strived to be consistent and get my first serves in,” Loen said.

Freel, in the No. 1 singles match, faced Tigard sophomore Ayumi Mizuno, who also competed at the state tournament in doubles play last year.

Freel started strong, winning the first five games of the first set. But Mizuno turned things around, as she won the next three games to cut Freel’s lead to 5-3.

But Freel, with the help of her Timberwolf teammates answered back. She won the next game to earn a 6-3 first-set victory and then she swept the second set to get the 6-3, 6-0 victory.

“Having our team there cheering for me really helped a lot,” Freel said. “She’s definitely a good player, and it was a fun match.”

“She’s playing so well,” Roshak said of Mizuno. “I learn so much from her. She’s my role model.”

Teamwork has also helped Freel and Loen.

“Eloise and I are good friends,” Freel said. “We push each other and help each other.”

“We’re competitive with each other,” Loen said. “But we’re also good friends.”

In No. 3 singles play at last week’s match, Tualatin’s Taylor Barnes scored a 6-1, 6-3 win over Tigard junior Fotini Dorrance. At No. 4 singles, Timberwolf junior Sarah Lemieux led Tigard junior Alexa Thornton 6-0, 5-2 when the match was ended due to rain.

In the No. 1 doubles match, Tualatin seniors Nicole Janes and Bella Koessler posted a 6-1, 6-4 win over Tigard juniors Carrie Williams and Caroline Tea.

At No. 2 doubles, the Tualatin team of Maddie Meade and Audrey DePaepe bested Tigard’s Kendall Lockwood and Alia Tran 6-1, 6-1. At No. 3 doubles, Tualatin’s Debbie Kim and Riley Steele got a 6-1, 6-0 win over Rebekah Dunestre and Delaney Shea. In the No. 4 doubles match, Tualatin’s Jill Irvine and Kayla O’Brien got a 6-1, 6-0 victory against Tigard’s Maria Anderson and Lexi O’Neil.

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