In two league matchups with Pendleton, the Lady Buckaroos have been able to get the close wins when it counted.
Earlier in the season, Pendleton won 11-10 on total sets won, and Tuesday, they secured three doubles victories and tacked on a pair of wins on the singles side, two of those decisions coming in close third-set tiebreakers in a 5-3 triumph.
“Pendleton just seems to have our number,” TD head coach Debby Jones said. “We were down one of our top singles players, but Pendleton just out-played us in some key matches.”
In her No. 1 singles match, Charel Gijzen engaged in a three-set battle with Brittany Flanagan, with each player trading 6-2 scores. Gijzen willed herself ahead in the second set to send the match to the tiebreaker round.
“Charel gutted out her win,” Jones said. “This was all about pride, and she overcame some tough distractions to come home with the win.”
Michaela Haight grabbed a No. 3 singles victory in her match against Kalan Spencer, 6-2, 6-2, to even out the singles contests.
TD’s No. 1 doubles duo of Lupita Contreras and Natalie Varland had an easy time in their match with Becca Walker and Larissa Chambers, as they earned a 6-2, 6-0 triumph.
“Lupita and Natalie were in complete control in their straight-set win, as was Michaela,” Jones said.
Yahaira Alvarez ended up taking a No. 2 singles loss versus Katie Bradt in two sets, 4-6, 0-6, and Delainny Lobato had a heart-breaking three-set setback with Lyla Jackson in their No. 4 tussle.
Jackson got the early edge with a 7-6 opening-set tally, but Lobato returned the favor in the second set to secure a 7-6 final and move their slugfest into the tiebreaker set.
The duo traded points back and forth and were deadlocked at 8-apiece; however, Jackson notched the last two points for a 10-8 win.
“Delainny filled in at No. 4 singles and the marathon match couldn’t have been any closer with each set going to tiebreakers,” Jones said.
On April 26 and 27 at the Bend Tournament, the Lady Hawks had a major step up in competition, playing against 6A and 5A programs.
“I was very pleased, for the most part, with the results,” Jones said. “The girls did not shrink under the pressure of the challenge.”
TD lost 6-2 to last year’s 6A runner-up, Roseburg, and the Riverhawks added stout wins from Riley Brewer and Hannah Biehn at No. 3 doubles and the No. 4 team of Kristy Warren and Ari Andrade.
Alvarez, Contreras and Varland put up good fights in their matches, stretching their opponents to three sets.
In their second match against 6A Sandy, and TD squeaked by with a 4-4 tie that had to be broken by going to total number of games won and the Hawks tallied 74 games to Sandy’s 70.
“The singles player came through in this match along with the continued great play from Warren and Andrade,” Jones said.
Against 5A Silverton, TD lost 5-3 and played without Dahlia Mondragon, who suffered a wrist injury, but picked up singles wins from Charel Gijzen and Michaela Haight, who played their best matches of the season.
In their last match of the tournament, TD took a 7-1 loss to 6A Grant, with Contreras and Varland earning the lone win at No. 1 doubles.
“It was a great experience playing such strong competition,” Jones said. “The girls were pretty whipped by the end of the tournament, which helped them better understand what it will take to do well at districts and the potential of playing possibly three matches in one day in order to move on to state.”
TD played Saturday against Ridgeview in a season finale ahead of district action, which takes place on Friday and Saturday, May 10-11.
Having six calendar days off to prepare and recharge will be critical.
The veteran coach is excited to see where her team falls in the IMC division.
“I think we are feeling a bit beat up with the number of matches played in the past 10 days, but hopefully it will all pay off come the district tournament,” Jones said.