LONGMONT — Niwot’s Gillian Hyde is filling in nicely in the resurgent Cougars’ singles battery her senior season.
On Thursday, Hyde defeated Silver Creek’s Bridgid Winn 6-1, 6-0 for her fourth victory at No. 3 singles. Though she played doubles last year, Hyde feels like she’s found her true calling at the third singles position.
“I think, generally, I’m a singles player,” Hyde said. “I played over the summer and I did a lot of tournaments. I played a lot of singles so it’s going well.”
Hyde, who is off to a 4-2 start, said her volleys have diminished since departing from doubles play. But that doesn’t matter too much since she doesn’t go to the net often and relies primarily on her groundstrokes.
Her strategy worked fine in Thursday’s match, which Hyde said went well despite the windy conditions complicating her serve.
Hyde’s Cougars, who swept Boulder High on Tuesday, are off to a good start. Returning an experienced group from last season, they’re up to 5-1 in duals — including Thursday’s 7-0 win against Silver Creek. Niwot’s only loss was 4-3 against 2012 5A state runner-up Fairview.
“We’ve played solid matches and we’ve won a lot,” Hyde said. “We’ve lost only against Fairview, as a team, so it’s going well.”
Against the Raptors, Erin Mulshine defeated Jennie Spielman at No. 1 singles and Meagan Londa beat Piper Doering at No. 2.
In doubles play, No. 1s Lauren Richards and Jami Albert won over Amanda Burns and Elsa Erickson. Isabelle Stafford and Maura Derr bested Kaleia San Miguel and Maria Grant at No. 2. At No. 3, Kaitlyn Skinner and Annika Jarvinen topped Ava Hartman and Kathryn Trees and Janie Siben and Jayne Benedict beat Faith King and Savannah Dehnying at No. 4.
With two freshmen and four sophomores in the ladder, this season has been a learning process for the Raptors, who are 0-2 including a 7-0 loss to Centaurus. Grant, who said her and San Miguel’s match went better than they expected, said they’re embracing their room to improve.
“We ended up going to deuce a lot of the games and we played really well,” Grant, a sophomore, said. “I feel like we could do better but we’re a young team and we’ll definitely keep getting better.”
Raptors head coach Kelly Burns said his players were a bit timid against the Cougars. They need to be more active and aggressive, the way they are in practice, if they want to find success against their opponents going forward.
“Back-to-back 7-0 losses is a tough way to start the season,” Burns said. “But the work ethic is there. I leave practice every day really pleased. We just need to start seeing those thing in our matches.”
The Cougars will take on Rocky Mountain, which finished 12th in 5A last year, on Tuesday. The Raptors will take on cross-town rival Skyline, which lost 7-0 to Windsor on Thursday, on Monday.
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Niwot 7, Silver Creek 0
At Silver Creek H.S.
Singles — 1. Erin Mulshine, Niwot, def. Jennie Spielman, 6-0, 6-2; 2. Meagan Londa, Niwot, def. Piper Doering, 6-0, 6-0; 3. Gillian Hyde, Niwot, def. Bridgid Winn, 6-1, 6-0.
Doubles — 1. Lauren Richards/Jami Albert, Niwot, def. Amanda Burns/Elsa Erickson, 6-1, 6-2; 2. Isabelle Stafford/Maura Derr, Niwot, def. Kaleia San Miguel/Maria Grant, 6-2, 6-1; 3. Kaitlyn Skinner/Annika Jarvinen, Niwot, def. Ava Hartman/Kathryn Trees, 6-0, 6-0; 4. Janie Siben/Jayne Benedict, Niwot, def. Faith King/Savannah Dehnying, 6-1, 6-0.