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Season winds down for high school tennis
May 15, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Photo by Sheila Weber/Sheila Weber Photography - Gering’s Katie Collins prepares for a return volley during a recent triangular at Scottsbluff. Collins is one of six Gering teammates who will compete at the state tournament in Lincoln May 22-23.

With the girls tennis state tournament scheduled for May 22 – 23 in Lincoln, the regular season is winding down for both Gering and Scottsbluff as both teams competed well through both wins and losses.

Gering saw action at home on May 6 against Sterling, Colo. after the road match scheduled for the previous day was moved to Gering.

Gering posted six of the nine games played to win the dual. It was also the first and only time the Lady Bulldogs played Sterling this season. Last year’s match was cancelled due to weather.

“It was some good experience for the girls to see a new team they haven’t competed against,” said Coach Justin Reinmuth. “We’re glad Sterling came down because it was some great competition.”

Katie Collins at No. 1 singles was back from an illness and posted a win. The No. 1 doubles team of Savannah Walker and Samantha Gutherless and the No. 2 doubles team of Marlee Lupher and Carolyn Howton both posted wins.

Reinmuth said he also put in their No. 3 doubles team that usually sees play during some of Gering’s invites. Freshmen Allie Wilson and Annessa Escamilla both started the season on the JV squad, but were called up to varsity after some impressive play. They also pulled out a win at the Sterling match.

“I think the high point for us was when Samantha and Savannah went 6-0, 6-1 in their match,” Reinmuth said. “It only lasted about 30 minutes. That shows me they’ve really grown and pulled out a lot of big wins when we needed them.”

The triangular event at home with Alliance and Ogallala that had been scheduled for May 10 has been moved up week and will start this Saturday at 9 a.m. It will be Gering’s last regular season match before the state tournament.

Players heading to the state tournament include Katie Collins at No. 1 singles and Kaitlyn Wagoner at No. 2 singles. The doubles teams will be Savannah Walker and Samantha Gutherless at No. 1 and Marlee Lupher and Carolyn Howton at No. 2.

“Our goal is to make it through the first day and qualify for day two,” Reinmuth said. “That’s quite a feat for the kids. If they make it to the second say, they’re in the real competition.”

Although they came back home with two road losses, the Scottsbluff girls’ tennis team was a strong competitor in North Platte as they took on two larger Class A schools in North Platte and Kearney.

The Bearcats’ top two players accounted for all the points they would score against North Platte on May 6. Zoe Holcher at No. 1 singles blanked Megan Stokey 8-0 and No. 2 singles Christina Villarreal posted an 8-4 victory over Tunis Sack.

The rest of the singles positions lost to their North Platte opponents. No. 3 Akacia Kraus lost a close one to Kristen Wullschleger by an 8-6 score. No. 4 Anna Wiebe lost 8-4 to Molly Spelts, No. 5 Sarah Cloud dropped an 8-4 match to Olivia Nicholson and No. 6 Rachel Madden lost to Hayley Schanou 8-1.

All three of Scottsbluff’s doubles teams also lost their matches. No. 1 Sarah Cloud and Stacea Pauli lost 8-1 to Olivia Nicholson and Hayley Schanou, No. 2 Paige Corr and Pernille Akselsen were blanked 8-0 by Tunis Sack and Kristen Wullschleger. In the No. 3 match, Zoe Holscher and Christina Villarreal took an 8-1 loss to Megan Stokey and Molly Spelts.

“Our No. 1 and No. 3 singles played well against North Platte,” said Scottsbluff Coach Cassie Behnke. “The rest of the singles players struggled a bit. We should have done better.”

Also on May 6, the Lady Bearcats played a hard-fought match against Kearney, but were unable to come away with a single win. Zoe Holscher’s winning streak at No. 1 singles came to an 8-5 end to Kearney’s Jayden Trimble. No. 2 Christina Villarreal fell 8-4 to Kearney freshman Faith Kowalski. No. 3 Akacia Kraus lost 8-1, No. 4 Anna Wiebe by an 8-0 score, No. 5 Stacea Pauli also lost her match by an 8-1 score, and Rachel Madden lost 8-0.

The Lady Bearcats also couldn’t get a win from the doubles teams as No. 1 Sarah Cloud and Stacea Pauli lost 8-2, No. 2 Paige Corr and Pernille Akselsen took an 8-0 loss and No. 3 Zoe Holscher and Christina Villarreal dropped an 8-3 decision.

“I didn’t expect a lot of wins in the Kearney match,” Behnke said. “I just expected the team to compete really well. Our doubles teams competed well and Zoe Holscher competed well against the girl she played. Those were both positive things and the girls walked away pretty positive about how they played.”

Last weekend, the Lady Bearcats were in Hastings for the GNAC tournament, where they tied for fifth place and 17 team points with McCook in a field of eight schools.

“It’s hard to say how we did at the GNAC tournament,” Behnke said. “We probably should have gotten some more wins at singles and one and two doubles. That’s just how it rolls and I hope we can finish the rest of the season strong before heading to the state tournament. “

She added one of the high points was sophomore Zoe Holscher, who took second in No. 1 singles. Christina Villarreal at No. 2 singles got two wins on the day, and both doubles teams came away with one win.
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