NIWOT — The Niwot girls tennis coaches are excited about No. 1 doubles team of junior Maura Derr and senior Lauren Richards. As the Beastie Boys would say, they got the ill communication.
On Thursday at Niwot High School, Derr and Richards stayed on the same page to win the most closely contested match during a 7-0 Cougars sweep of the rival Silver Creek Raptors. Having yet to dishearten their coaches’ excitement, Derr and Richards defeated Raptors Piper Doering and Kaleia San Miguel 6-2, 6-3 to remain perfect on the season.
They’re off to a fantastic start in their first season paired together. For Derr and Richards, it’s been all about the teamwork.
“We both complement each other’s styles and the way that we play,” Richards said. “Also, our personalities match so we know how to support each other in the right way. We have similar strengths in volleying and playing the baseline, but our communication skills are also great so we are going to have fun and do the best we can this season.”
So far, Derr and Richards are 5-0. If winning all the time is their definition of fun, they must be having a blast.
The Cougars No. 1 doubles players have already beaten pairs from local rivals Longmont and Silver Creek. They have also come out on top against one of 4A’s best pairs in Valor Christian, and won three-set thrillers against pairs from 5A’s Boulder and Fairview, which placed third in the state as a team in 2013.
After remaining unbeaten against tough competition to open the season, Derr said she and Richards might have played their best against the Raptors on Thursday.
“I think we played really well compared to our previous matches because we’ve had a bunch of matches this week and we’ve gotten a lot of practice,” Derr said. “We’ve really worked on being aggressive and getting to the net, and getting our first serves in and attacking. We’re developing a good mindset and finishing well.”
Cougars senior No. 1 singles player Erin Mulshine, who broke into the top six at the 4A state tournament last season, bounced back from a frustrating defeat at the hands of Boulder freshman Annie Chen on Wednesday. Mulshine beat Silver Creek’s Jennie Spielman 6-1, 6-4 to improve to 2-3 on the season.
At No. 2 singles, senior Meagan Londa defeated Raptors sophomore Elsa Erickson 6-0, 6-0. In the third singles match, Cougars junior Jami Albert topped junior Brigid Winn 6-0, 6-0.
Izzy Stafford and Janie Sieban, who are also undefeated in the Cougars’ second doubles slot, won 6-1, 6-3 over Raptors Kathryn Trees and Maria Grant. At No. 3, Nonie Ziel/Emma Lerner defeated Raptors Ava Hartmann and Jessica Evely 6-1, 6-2.
In the final match of the day, Cougars Annika Jarvinen and Geya Kairamkonda defeated Sonja Hartmann and Madison Burns 6-1, 6-2.
With the win, the Cougars improved their dual record to 4-1 on the season. The Raptors’ record dropped to 1-2, which includes a 4-3 loss to Centaurus last week they felt they could have won.
Raptors head coach Kelly Burns said it’s difficult to gauge the team’s progress against a perennial power like Niwot, but he left Niwot High with several notes that have him hopeful the Raptors can get to 3-2 before Spring Break.
“Niwot’s really good and we knew it was going to be a rough match,” Burns said. “I was really proud of Jennie at number one because she hasn’t hit in over a week because she sprained her ankle. We just threw her out there because she wanted to play. I was also proud of all the doubles. In the second sets, they were all more aggressive.”
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Niwot 7, Silver Creek 0
Singles — 1. Erin Mulshine, Niwot, def. Jennie Spielman, Silver Creek, 6-1, 6-4; 2. Meagan Londa, Niwot, def. Elsa Erickson, Silver Creek, 6-0, 6-0; 3. Jami Albert, Niwot, def. Brigid Winn, Silver Creek, 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles — 1. Maura Derr/Lauren Richards, Niwot, def. Piper Doering/Kaleia San Miguel, 6-2, 6-3; 2. Izzy Stafford/Janie Sieban, Niwot, def. Kathryn Trees/Maria Grant, Silver Creek, 6-1, 6-3; 3. Nonie Ziel/Emma Lerner, def. Ava Hartmann/Jessica Evely, Silver Creek, 6-1, 6-2; 4. Annika Jarvinen/Geya Kairamkonda, Niwot, def. Sonja Hartmann/Madison Burns, 6-1, 6-2.