Women's tennis beats Bellevue

By Lukas Bachmann - Staff Reporter

The Thunderbirds tennis team defeated Treasure Valley 7-2 on April 13 and defeated rival Bellevue 5-4 on April 14.

The strong showing last weekend against Treasure Valley, and the always difficult Bellevue, helped the Thunderbirds improve their record to 4-1 in the division and 6-6 overall, and allowed them to snag first place in the division. 

Head Coach Laura Rosa was very pleased with her team's wins against Treasure Valley and defending champion Bellevue, but said the job is not done yet. 

"Our focus on one match at a time is paying off. Of course, it's great to be sitting on top of the conference, but at the same time we know we still have a lot to prove. No one on this team is satisfied. That is what makes this group so special," Rosa said.

The last meeting of Bellevue and Highline earlier this season went Bellevue's way, winning 5-4, so certain players stepped up to make sure that would not happen this time. 

"Two highlights were the No. 3 doubles match, which was won by Danielle Mendoza and Cora Padilla," Rosa said. Mendoza and Padilla won 8-4 against Bellevue's Yuri Takagi and Anna Sneesby.

Highline started the match strong, with Amila Gogalija winning singles match No. 1 6-2, 6-2, Celeste Andreotti winning match No.2 3-6, 6-1, 10-6, and Miriam Cabrera winning match No. 3 7-5, 6-3. 

Bellevue came back winning singles matches No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6 tying the match.

Amila Gogalia and Celeste Andreotti won doubles match No. 1 8-5 for Highline but Bellevue answered by winning doubles match No. 2 keeping the match score tied at 4. 

That is when Cora Padilla and Danielle Mendoza shined.

"I think Bellevue set up a lineup where they thought that would be a fairly easy point but Danielle and Cora disagreed," Rosa said. "We were aggressive and confident from the first serve and Bellevue looked a bit shocked, honestly, all the way until the end." 

Although Bellevue fields a team that is much older than the average college team, Rosa does not let it affect the way she coaches her team. 

"My job is to prepare the Thunderbirds to play anybody. In the ideal world, we could have a bit of a robotic approach to opponents; tennis is great like that. There is no one formula to making a great player," Rosa said.

With these two wins the Thunderbirds are now 5-1 since March 25 and the perfect 3-0 since the beginning of April.

After a big weekend like this there is always a possibility of having a let-down and even though Rosa said she cannot prevent a letdown, she said she is not worried about one. 

"I can't prevent that," Rosa said of letdowns. "I guide and manage and teach and coach, but they are the heart and soul. I don't worry about them lacking in either of those areas."

Two of the Thunderbirds' last three games are against a winless Skagit Valley team.

"Skagit isn't a lesser team except in numbers. They just don't have a full team so have to forfeit points every match," Rosa said. "Their top players are fairly strong." 

"The Skagit match will actually give us a chance to rest a couple players which then forces some of our players who normally play further down the lineup, to step up," Rosa said.

With three games left before the championships, the Thunderbirds are in a prime position to steal the title away from Bellevue, a team that has lost the championship only once since 2005.

The Thunderbirds next game is away against Skagit Valley College at 12:00 p.m.

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