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Tribe netters fall to Bucks

THE DALLES tennis player Abby Minnick fires back a hard passing shot in a recent No. 2 doubles match. In a road showdown with Pendleton Tuesday, Minnick and partner Emma Ell-Smith battled tough for a three-set win.

THE DALLES tennis player Abby Minnick fires back a hard passing shot in a recent No. 2 doubles match. In a road showdown with Pendleton Tuesday, Minnick and partner Emma Ell-Smith battled tough for a three-set win. Scott McMullen/Contributed photo

After playing four grueling matches in two days over the weekend in Bend, The Dalles girl’s tennis team had one day off before hitting the road to Pendleton for a crucial league match.

MJ Murillo won the Tribe’s lone singles match and the teams of Abby Minnick and Emma Ell-Smith along with Cassie Vazquez and Ellie Trujillo picked up victories as well in a 5-3 loss to the Buckaroos Monday.

“It was rewarding to finally see our depth help us out,” said TD head coach Debby Jones. “Picking up wins at No. 3 singles and No. 4 doubles is a good sign for the future.”

Murillo had to work hard for three sets in her matchup against Hannah Flanigan, as the Pendleton player started off strong with a 6-3 winner to take control.

Murillo slugged it out in the second game and inched ahead late for a 7-6 winner to send the match into a decisive third set.

There, Murillo found an extra gear to pull off a 10-7 triumph.

“MJ came up with a huge win at No. 3 singles,” Jones said. “The tight match went well over two hours and MJ came from behind to force and win the third-set tiebreaker.”

At No. 2 doubles, Minnick and Ell-Smith followed the blueprint of their singles teammate in a three-set marathon versus Bixler and James.

The Pendleton pair struck first with a 6-4 win, but Minnick and Ell-Smith battled back to even things up at 1-apiece after posting a 6-4 winner.

In the final frame, the Tribe tandem fought tooth-and-nail with Bixler and James, but found the groove late with a 10-7 winner.

“Abby and Emma got the team its first win doing what they have done all season – not get rattled after losing the first,” coach Jones said. “They rallied and took the deciding third set tiebreaker.”

At No. 4 doubles, Vazquez and Trujillo still had to work hard, but not as hard as their teammates in grabbing a straight-sets winner by scores of 6-4 and 7-5 in a match versus Brown and Walker.

Instead of a 5-3 team loss, the Eagle Indians were close to scoring a tie with Rebekah Kohltfarber and Brittany Watkins moving their match to three sets.

The Tribe duo claimed the opener by a margin of 6-3, but the Pendleton team of Thompson and Sperl charged back in the second set with a 6-4 decision. Down the stretch of the finale, the Buckaroo pair had all of the breaks go their way in reeling off a 10-7 win.

Robin Pashek lost her No. 1 singles match, Kiana Pielli had to withdraw from her match due to injury and Julissa Marquez came up on the short end in her No. 4 singles match.

The No. 1 doubles team of Anna Miller and Johanna Wilson were defeated in straight sets by the Hampton sisters by scores of 6-2 and 6-2.

The Dalles hits the court again at 4 p.m. today versus Pendleton in a re-scheduled match.

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