Lady T-Birds beats Skagit as championship looms

By Lukas Bachmann - Staff Reporter

The Thunderbirds' tennis team completed a season sweep of Skagit Valley last Friday night. 

Thanks to wins by Samantha McElwain in the No. 3 singles match, Cora Padilla in the No. 4 singles match and a doubles match win by Miriam Cabrera and McElwain, the Thunderbirds were able to take home the win, 7-2. 

Due to Skagit Valley's small team, singles match five and six, as well as doubles match, three were all defaulted points to Highline.

Head Coach Laura Rosa said she used Skagit Valley's small team to the Thunderbirds' advantage.

"Because of their small team, we again chose to rest a couple players including our No. 1, Amila Gogalija," Rosa said.

Last week the Thunderbirds chose to rest many players and had default points cancel each other out which led to a score of 4-3 in Highline's favor.

With two lineup changes in two weeks, it is safe to wonder how the team handled so many changes.

Rosa said the team started a little nervous in their new spots, but eventually settled in.

"[The change] forced Miriam Cabrera and Sammie McElwain, who usually play in our No. 2 doubles position, to step up to the No. 1 spot," Rosa said.

"They played a little nervous at first, but as soon as the set got going, Miriam turned up the heat on her serve and we took control. Sammie is just such a steady player, it's hard for other teams to rattle her," Rosa said.

With this win, the Thunderbirds complete their undefeated run in April, going 5-0. They now sit in first place, with a record of 6-1 in conference and 8-6 on the season. 

The Thunderbirds next game is against Spokane but it is not Spokane's only game of the day.

Spokane travels to Skagit Valley to play Saturday morning, then travels down here to play the Thunderbirds at 8 p.m. that same night.

While this may seem unusual, Rosa said that this can be a common occurrence in the conference.

"With the size of the conference almost every match is a big road trip. It is not unheard of for teams to play twice in a day. We were just lucky to have not had to do that this year," Rosa said.

Even with Spokane playing twice in one day, Rosa still sees Spokane as a very formidable opponent.

"Spokane is tough, they looked really good when we played them back in February, I expect they are even better now. But, I think we are as well," Rosa said.

Spokane sits in second place behind the Thunderbirds, but that might change after Spokane's three games this weekend.

Rosa said that Spokane may benefit from these games being so close together.

"It might actually pay off for Spokane in the long run. They will get a bunch of really good competitions right before the championship. For us, we have just been steadily getting better every match with the goal of peaking in a couple weeks at NWACs.

The Thunderbirds' last match before the NWAC championship is against Spokane on May 4 at the Boeing Employee Tennis Court at 8 p.m.

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