Miners muzzle Bulldogs on the road
It was an afternoon of mixed emotions.
On Wednesday, the Miners girls’ tennis team deftly beat Judge Memorial, their biggest rival 4-1, just one week before they will see them again for the Region 10 divisional championships. Sitting atop Region 10 as the clear favorites to win the division and challenge at state, the girls got a big confidence boost from the win.
But it wasn’t all celebration across the board. One player will be looking for a mix of redemption and revenge when the team faces the Bulldogs once again.
For the first time in her high school career No. 1 singles player Ali McMahon lost to Judge’s Mikelle Mancini. Following the match, McMahon passed it off to bad day and a mistake not likely to happen in the region finals next week. But the three-hour-long three-set match kept spectators captivated. McMahon struggled with her serve and some of her returns and Mancini was able to hold steady for the win, beating McMahon 7-5, 6-7, 7-1.
Part of the problem was the long period since McMahon last had a challenging match. Since facing Desert Hills at the St. George Tournament, regular season matches against teams at the bottom of the league may have hampered McMahon a bit. She also has not played as much as usual after pulling a stomach muscle this summer, which kept her out of some games earlier in the prep season.
"I think she’s been recovering, She’ll get it back," Park City assistant coach Tim Donnelly said. "I don’t think Ali’s on her game. When she has her power, she’ll be all right."
It was a long day at the No. 3 singles position as well. Park City’s Stormy Dvorak took her time before beating the Bulldog’s Chloe Roper 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).
"I didn’t see those long matches coming," head coach Lori McMahon said.
In stark contrast to the difficult matches at the No. 1 and No. 3 singles positions, it was an especially successful day for both doubles teams. Both duos quickly took care of their opponents in straight sets.
The No. 2 pair of Hilary Packham and Kristen Albrecht were the first to notch a win beating Alli Clayton and Alyssa Corbet 6-4, 6-3.
"We executed pretty well and that contributed to the win," Packham said. "This was a pretty big win for us. Judge is a big rival."
Albrecht is new to the team, but Packham said it has been an easy adjustment.
"She’s really athletic," Packham said. "We’re all proud of her and she’s doing really good."
Part of their chemistry is due to a solid friendship off of the court, which Packham said helps her to know how to communicate on the court.
Next, it was Park City’s Callie Wells and Alex Oriente in the No.1 doubles slot over Avery Noorda and Ally Iwasaki 6-4, 6-2. Judge was without normal starter Jackie Pok, who was out with the flu, and replaced her with Nawasaki. Even though they weren’t playing the normal pair, Wells said the match still boosted their confidence going into next week.
"We closed them down pretty quickly," Oriente said. "That said, anything can happen next week, but it feels good to win this match."
Wells and Oriente have been playing together for two years and Oriente said that makes all the difference.
"I think doubles is great when you have a great partner," Oriente said. "Callie and I know how to play with each other."
The both doubles teams agreed that the big difference was their ability to be aggressive and come to the net. Coach McMahon said that the team has been working hard on those things, and she is happy to see it finally paying off.
At the No. 2 singles position Tessa Wray was able to beat Claire Hollingsworth in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4.
The entire team was using the Judge match as a bit of a scouting match to not only see what the team would be bringing to divisionals, but also to see what they need to work on before then.
"As far as Judge goes, we’ll just keep to our game and be aggressive," McMahon said.
The win also gives them top seeding in divisionals, further helping their quest for another Region 10 championship. The Miners will get in a few more challenging matches in before the divisional home matches against Ogden on Monday at 3:15 p.m. and a social match against the high school boys team on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
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