Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
LONGMONT — Few feelings are more gratifying than avenging an earlier loss, and doing so 10 days after the original setback proves even sweeter.
On Saturday at the Longmont Recreation Center, Silver Creek junior Liana Kelly did just that when she defeated Mead sophomore Holly Richardson in two sets of the No. 3 singles first-place match with 6-0, 6-2 scores at Longmont’s girls tennis invitational. Less than two weeks earlier, Richardson bested her when she came all the way back from a first-set, 1-6 loss to claim the next two by scores of 6-4 and 7-6, with a 7-5 tiebreaker in the last set.
“After the first set, I kind of figured out what her weaknesses were and my backhand slice, she had a really hard time getting that back so I incorporated that more into my play,” said Richardson of her previous victory over Kelly. “That got me all the way up in the second set and then the third set, I was up 5-1 and then I kind of just completely lost it and it was six all. It was a really tough match and she’s a really good tennis player.”
This time around, the ladies didn’t have to battle through the unforgiving wind that’s been plaguing Colorado lately. Saturday’s weather was much more amenable, and that allowed Kelly to play her shots much better.
She believes that her original match and rematch against Richardson will only make her better in the long run, as she chases another state tournament bid in her new line. A year earlier, just her first playing tennis, she qualified for state with her 1 doubles partner.
“Playing all the great opponents and schools make me better and we make each other better,” Kelly said. “Playing against someone who’s the same level is really fun. I played (Richardson) in normal season and she beat me in three sets in the wind, so I was pretty happy to beat her. I really love playing her. It was very fun today.”
Along with Kelly’s win, Silver Creek’s Katie Reitz scored a big win in the finals, defeating Doherty’s Malia Weaver, 6-0, 7-6 (10-8) to help the Raptors take third place as a team.
Longmont takes second in team play
Longmont coach Mike Merz may be fielding a young team this year, but he couldn’t be more thrilled with the steep progress his ladies have been making as of late. As the cliche goes, practice makes perfect.
On Saturday, the Trojans finished second as a team after sending girls to the finals in 1 singles, 1 doubles, 3 doubles and 4 doubles. Their only finals “win” came through default, as Monarch’s 1 singles player forfeited against Lauren Pavot. The majority of their 48 points came through a team effort, placing second behind Rocky Mountain’s 60.
The camaraderie and team-building that Merz and his coaching staff have been preaching all season have been coming into sharper focus.
“Over the past two weeks, we’ve just grown so much,” Merz said. “We’ve done the Windsor tournament, we’re doing our tournament and we’ve had about six matches in the last two weeks. My freshmen have really stepped up. We have freshmen at 4 doubles. We have a freshman at 3 doubles, at 2 and 3 singles, and they’ve just grown so much.”
The Trojans’ 1 doubles team, sophomore Stella Rulon and junior Allison Brause, displayed that rapid growth against Rocky Mountain’s team of seniors, Ashley Morris and Lenoire Lawing, in their finals match as they played them tough in a first set that saw them lose 4-6 before the Lobos put them away in the second set with a score of 6-2.
Longmont has been experimenting with its lines all season, moving girls up to singles, down to doubles and vice versa, so the coaches have been keeping the girls on their toes. It’s been benefiting them in the long run.
“Things got mixed around a lot, so (Brause and I) haven’t been playing together a lot, but I think we’ve adjusted well to each other’s games. We play pretty strong and we talk and communicate a lot on the court,” Rulon said. “I think it helps me because when I get situated in one spot, I start to get comfortable and I feel like not being comfortable helps you play better and challenges you more.”
Results from first-place matches:
1 singles: Lauren Pavot (Longmont) wins by default
2 singles: Katie Reitz (Silver Creek) def. Malia Weaver (Doherty) 6-0, 7-6 (10-8)
3 singles: Liana Kelly (Silver Creek) def. Holly Richardson (Mead) 6-0, 6-2
1 doubles: Ashley Morris and Lenoire Lawing (Rocky Mountain) def. Stella Rulon and Allison Brause (Longmont) 6-4, 6-1
2 doubles: Izzy Kinder and Rachel Hodsden (Rocky Mountain) def. Shenny Waugh and Sara Dodge (Silver Creek) 6-1,6-3
3 doubles: Sammy Harvey and Izzy Poduska (Rocky Mountain) def. Emma Schaub and Jade Seamons (Longmont) 6-4, 6-2
4 doubles: Riley Stone and Abby Miller (Rocky Mountain) def. Kaila Patterson and Kaylin Kroeger (Longmont) 6-3, 7-5