Girls tennis: Erie dominates 4A Region 5

May 2—NIWOT — Despite the do-or-die atmosphere that always accompanies regional tennis, very little drama ensued on the courts at Niwot High School on Thursday.

Only two lines at the Class 4A Region 5 tournament needed playbacks to determine who would earn that second spot for the state tournament, which is set for Pueblo City Park next weekend.

No. 2 doubles, headlined by Silver Creek's Lucia De La Lama/Tali Wosachlo and Longmont's Kaila Patterson/Kaylin Kroeger, went the distance in a three-set marathon before the Raptors pulled out the thriller with a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7-1) final to end the day. De La Lama and Wosachlo will be the only representatives from Silver Creek when the competition begins in Pueblo next Thursday.

Once that final ball dropped, well into the afternoon, Erie had secured six regional championships as Niwot and Longmont trailed behind with state qualifiers at five and two lines, respectively.

Erie, which has seen a sharp rise in its tennis acumen over the past couple of years, only strengthened its own resume. The Tigers bowed out during the second round of the 4A dual team tournament with a 4-3 loss to Mullen last week.

Their 1 doubles pair, seniors Francie Mueller and Kendall Wachowiak, exacted swift revenge on Niwot's Anne Haley and Samantha Zacky with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 victory in the finals. The Cougars' tandem, last week, defeated the Tigers when they met up in the first round of the team tournament.

"Last time, we weren't very aggressive, and once we started losing we didn't have good energy to get back," Wachowiak said. "Today, I think we just really kept up with the energy and just stuck to the basics with cross-court and net-to-net. We had better serves today than we did last week, which is always helpful."

The pair first began playing together just this year, but a pre-existing friendship made their court camaraderie that much stronger. Now, they get to look ahead to one last tournament while donning the black and orange.

"Since we're both seniors, I think we just want to try our best, and this is our last time playing," Mueller said. "I think we're just going to put everything we have into it, and then hopefully, we can go somewhere."

The ladies at No. 2 singles kept play even shorter despite tight set scores. Niwot's Tracy Yu pulled out a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Longmont's Stella Rulon, even after Rulon put together a valiant comeback through the opening 10 games.

"I kind of had a slow start," Rulon explained. "I don't think I was fully locked in, but once I won my first game, then I kind of got momentum and felt more confident in myself. I ended up coming back 4-5 and then lost the set, unfortunately, but I was ready to play hard the second set. She ended up just playing really well and finishing strong."

Yu, similarly, felt the pressure from a well-matched opponent but leaned on her mental fortitude to sway the second set into her favor and avoid a third. She hopes she can carry that momentum into a deep run at state next week.

"Going in, I was definitely really nervous because I played her last year at state and it was a close match," Yu said. "I definitely want to make it to the last day again, and hopefully top four. She's definitely a really strong player."

State qualifiers:

1 singles: Nanoha Nakamura, Erie (regional champion) and Saha Kolli, Niwot

2 singles: Tracy Yu, Niwot (champion) and Stella Rulon, Longmont

3 singles: Campbell Moore, Erie (champion) and Addison Engelking, Longmont

1 doubles: Francie Mueller/Kendall Wachowiak, Erie (champions) and Anne Haley/Samantha Zacky, Niwot

2 doubles: Stella Landis and Lizzie Owens, Erie (champions) and Lucia De La Lama/Tali Wosachlo, Silver Creek

3 doubles: Addie Rice/Brooke Jordan, Erie (champions) and Caitlyn Carmichael/Magnolia Valentine, Niwot

4 doubles: Addie Osborne/Avery Gilbert, Erie (champions) and Hannah Nelson/Jordan Rutkowski, Niwot