Tennis team rallies to finish season strong

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SNOQUALMIE - The Mount Si tennis team has had its share of ups and downs this season recording only two wins and five losses.

Coach Sue Gallacher had said earlier that the team hoped to improve on last year's 4-4 record. But with one more league match, at best they can finish with a 3-5 record.

The Wildcats are missing four varsity players from last year, and now rely on some younger players to fill the void. The league is also very tough, according to Gallacher, who said that the KingCo 3A League has several players who will qualify for state, making competition difficult for the Wildcats top two players, Cristina Boals and Lauren Berndt.

"Playing number one in this league is a very tough assignment," Gallacher said.

The two have performed well this year, stated Gallacher, but have had some challenging matches against the other Kingco league teams' number one and two players, who have played at the state level.

To add insult to the young team, freshman Emily Pizzutto, who looked to challenge some of the top players in the district, recently sprained her ankle and will be out for the rest of the season.

"[She] has stepped up and done an outstanding job," Gallacher said.

The team will compete at the league meet the week of May 7, giving them a chance to qualify for the district meet, but the individuals and doubles teams must place in the top five in order to advance.

So far this season, Boals has played in the number one spot three times and won one of those matches, and Berndt has played the number one spot four times, also winning one match. The girls faired better playing in the number two spots on the team, collectively winning three matches out of six, but still have struggled with powerhouses like Bellevue and Sammamish who are currently two of the top three teams in the league with records of 5-1 and 4-1.

Bellevue's top players, Kendall Bates and Cassie Lee, won last year's doubles title at state, and are contenders for it again this year. Sammamish has four returning singles stars: Russy Graterol, Ashley Firman, Julie Hong and Vy Duong, all seniors. And the teams that are currently ranked fourth and fifth ahead of Mount Si have some key players as well. Issaquah has K.D Babitsky, a junior who last year placed fifth at districts, and was a state qualifier. And Interlake has senior Elan Holmberg, who was plagued with knee injuries last season but is expected to rebound this year.

Gallacher is not concerned though. The varsity team will still have six players returning next year and the girls have plenty of time to hone their skills.

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