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Bearcats triumph over N.P.
May 13, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
The Scottsbluff Bearcat girls’ tennis team wrapped up their home season May 10 with a big 3-1 dual win over Class A North Platte.

Scottsbluff’s top two singles players added to their winning streaks as No. 1 singles Zoe Holscher was a 6-1, 6-1 winner over North Platte’s Jordynn Simpson. Christina Villarreal at No. 2 singles was a straight sets winner over Tea Guerra, 6-0, 6-3.

Scottsbluff also got a win at No. 2 doubles as Alisha Huynh and Mariah Wyre had a real battle against North Platte’s Codi Guerrieri and Peyton Negley. The extended match went to a tiebreaker as the Bearcat team pulled out the win, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2).

At No. 1 doubles, Stacea Pauli was back from an ankle injury, joining teammate Sarah Cloud. It was the Bearcats’ only loss as they fell in three sets, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 to the North Platte team of Hayley Schanou and Olivia Nicholson.

“It was the first time Stacea and Sarah had played together for a while,” Coach Cassie Behnke said, “but I can’t be more impressed with how well they played.”

Holscher, Villarreal, Pauli and Cloud are all seniors and the upcoming trip to the state tournament will be their last. “Our program wouldn’t be where we are without all four of them,” Coach Cassie Behnke said. “To stick with something for four years and not necessarily be the most successful member on the team takes a lot of determination. I’m thankful for all of them.”

Last winter, Holscher signed a letter of intent to play tennis at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. Villarreal will play for Midland University in Fremont.

Over the prior weekend, Scottsbluff had to battle through periods of rain competing in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tennis Tournament in Lexington on May 7. Still, Scottsbluff put together enough wins to finish fifth overall.

Along the way, senior Zoe Holscher posted a runner-up finish at the No. 1 singles position with a 6-1 record.

Coach Behnke said what impressed her was how the players stepped up the challenge when adversity struck. Stacea Pauli, one of the members of the Bearcats No. 1 doubles team, sprained her ankle earlier in the week and was unable to play. Christina Villarreal, their standout at No. 2 singles, volunteered to join with Sarah Cloud on the No. 1 doubles team. While adjusting to how each other played, Cloud and Villarreal compiled a 3-4 record to finish in fourth place.

“I really respect Christina for her sacrifice in playing that position,” Behnke said. “She could have easily gotten first, second or third at her singles position but she sacrificed that glory to be a partner when we needed one.”

Rachel Hancock stepped up to take the No. 2 singles position during what Coach Behnke called “an interesting day.” Alisha Huynh and Moriah Wyre were teammates for the No. 2 doubles match.

The day went from 9 a.m. until about 6:30 p.m. against teams like Norfolk, North Platte, Lexington, Hastings, Kearney and McCook. It include an hour-long rain delay.

“When the girls got back on the court, the only match that needed to be finished was Christina and Sarah at No. 1 doubles,” Behnke said. “They were up 7-6 when there was a super huge bolt of lightning and the match was called as the rain started pouring. That was the end of the tournament for us.”

Scottsbluff played Ogallala on the road May 12 to end their regular season, but results were not available at press time. The state tournament is coming up May 19-20 in Lincoln.

“I look forward to some first round wins at state to give the girls encouragement, especially the juniors,” Behnke said. “All I can ask is that we play our best tennis.”
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