WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla High School girls tennis team cruised through doubles play undefeated, but could not pick up a point in singles play, as Pasco beat the Blue Devils, 4-3, on Thursday on the Wa-Hi courts.
In the boys match at Walla Walla Community College, Wa-Hi cruised to a 7-0 victory, as no singles player dropped more than two sets to his opponent.
The No. 1 girls doubles duo of Jaime Quaresma and Mari Arceo set the pace for doubles play, as they opened with a 6-1, 6-4 win against Zara Guzman and Kaitlyn Bedoya.
The Wa-Hi pairing cruised in the first set, but found themselves down in the second set. With Pasco holding a one-set lead, Arceo said her and Quaresma knew they needed to regroup.
“If (Quaresma) messes up, I try to keep her positive and if I mess up, she does the same for me,” Arceo said.
Quaresma and Arceo went on to win the next three sets, as they began a common theme among the Wa-Hi doubles teams.
The Blue Devils’ No. 2 team of Jennifer Bautista and Jazmin Duran downed Pasco’s Marissa Davila and Bella Chavez, 6-3, 6-3. The final doubles pairing, Catelyn Buettner and Liya Senter, dropped their first set, 7-5, but went on to beat Pasco’s Angie Crutchfield and Makayala Fitchitt, 6-3, 6-0.
“It was great to see them exercise a solid work ethic and come out on top while gaining some experience and confidence along the way,” Wa-Hi coach Keven Peck said of Buettner and Senter’s victory.
With a 3-0 mark through doubles play, Wa-Hi only needed to win one singles match to decide the match.
“Our singles girls — Lexi Swenson, Danielle Thongdy, Kennlyn Willard and Taylor Richardson — all played well, but couldn’t find a way to get us a point,” Peck said. “To their credit, they continued to battle for every point regardless of their match score.”
Thongdy, in the No. 2 spot, found herself on the ropes early, as Pasco’s Tatum Buckenberger nabbed a 6-4 win in the first set.
Thongdy responded in a big way in the following set, however, as she rallied for a 6-2 to win to force a decisive third set.
“I push myself to be persistent, it’s one thing I’m proud of as an athlete,” Thongdy said. “I love it when I come back.”
After the final set started 3-0 in favor of Buckenberger, Thongdy rebounded to cut the lead to 5-4. But with 80-degree heat and the lengthy match approaching the two-hour mark, her comeback fell short, as Buckenberger took the third set, 6-4.
Following the match, Thongdy summed up her match in one word: “tiring”.
“But it was a good battle,” she continued. “I think that’s the best I’ve played all season. It was a good game.”
Wa-Hi’s No. 1 singles player, Swenson, fell to Eden Snider of Pasco, 6-1, 6-1. Pasco’s Veronica Martinez downed Willard, 6-0, 6-4 in the No. 3 spot and Daniela Barbosa completed the singles sweep by beating Richardson, 6-0, 6-0.
Regardless of the match outcome, Peck was positive about his team’s play, especially when factoring in the weather.
“We saw our first really hot day of spring tennis today,” he said. “It can be a difficult transition when you are used to the cold and wind. However, the girls acclimated very well and played some solid tennis.”
The boys match is the third consecutive 7-0 sweep for the Blue Devils after they defeated Kamiakin and Southridge earlier this week.
“It was another solid performance,” Wa-Hi coach Bryan Eggart said. “We’ve had three sweeps in a row. I think that’s a sign we’re headed in the right direction.”
In the No. 1 singles match, Wa-Hi’s Douglas Rowley dispatched Pasco’s Jesse Trejo, 6-2, 6-0. Teammate Connor Christensen followed Rowley’s lead with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Jacob Sandoval. No. 3 player Micah Rambo beat Jalen Cantu, 6-1, 6-1 and Colton Norsworthy preserved the sweep with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Michael Torres.
“I was pleased top-to-bottom with our performance,” Eggart said. “It was a very dominant performance. It was a great day for tennis. That really helps.”
Doubles play also went in Wa-Hi’s favor, although the No. 2 team of Gerrod Peck and Eric Klicker were forced to hold off Pasco’s Luis Chavez and Raul Pimental. The Blue Devil duo opened with a 6-3 win, before ultimately prevailing in the second set, 6-4.
The No. 1 team of Nick Fuller and Malcolm Gabbard cruised past Alejandro Pacheco and Jose Verduzco, 6-1, 6-0. Wa-Hi’s No. 3 duo, Cole Woelfle and Noble Coleman completed the Blue Devil sweep with a 6-0, 6-2 win against Pedro Hernandez and Randy Luu.
Wa-Hi, which is currently tied for second in the Mid-Columbia Conference with Chiawana, completes its MCC schedule next week. The Blue Devils travel to face the Riverhawks on Tuesday, before hosting Kennewick on Thursday.
Eggart said the team will focus on mental and physical consistency before the pivotal MCC matches next week.
“We have to apply that to our matches next week and I know we will,” he said. “Sometimes we have to scramble. We have to learn to scramble within that point and play some good defense.”
Pasco 4, Wa-Hi 3
SINGLES — Eden Snider, Pasco, def. Lexi Swenson, Wa-Hi, 6-1, 6-1; Tatum Buckenberger, Pasco, def. Danielle Thongdy, Wa-Hi, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4; Veronica Martinez, Pasco, def. Kennlyn Willard, Wa-Hi, 6-0, 6-4; Daniela Barbosa, Pasco, def. Taylor Richardson, Wa-Hi, 6-0, 6-0.
DOUBLES — Mari Arceo-Jaime Quaresma, Wa-Hi, def. Zara Guzman-Kaitlyn Bedoya, Pasco, 6-1, 6-4; Jennifer Bautista-Jazmin Duran, Wa-Hi, def. Marissa Davila-Bella Chavez, Pasco, 6-3, 6-3; Catelyn Buettner-Liya Senter, Wa-Hi, def. Angie Crutchfield-Makayla Fitchitt, Pasco, 5-7, 6-3, 6-0.
Wa-Hi 7, Pasco 0
SINGLES — Douglas Rowley, Wa-Hi, def. Jesse Trejo, Pasco, 6-2, 6-0; Connon Christensen, Wa-Hi, def. Jacob Sandoval, Pasco, 6-0, 6-1; Micah Rambo, Wa-Hi, def. Jalen Cantu, Pasco, 6-1, 6-1; Colton Norsworthy, Wa-Hi, def. Michael Torres, Pasco, 6-1, 6-0.
DOUBLES — Nick Fuller-Malcolm Gabbard, Wa-Hi, def. Alejandro Pacheco-Jose Verduzco, Pasco, 6-1, 6-0; Gerrod Peck-Eric Klicker, Wa-Hi, def. Luis Chavez-Raul Pimental, Pasco, 6-3, 6-4; Cole Woelfle-Noble Coleman, Wa-Hi, def. Pedro Hernandez-Randy Luu, Pasco, 6-0, 6-2.