Highline tennis team drops match to Spokane, 5-4

By Lukas Bachmann - Staff Reporter

The Thunderbirds lost their last regular season match against Spokane last Friday night.

Wins by Amila Gogalija at No. 1 singles, Celeste Andreotti at No. 2 singles, and Samantha McElwain at No. 4 singles along with a win at No. 1 doubles by Gogalija and Andreotti kept the Thunderbirds in the match, but they eventually lost the tilt to Spokane 5-4.

This loss breaks the team's win streak that started back in March and has spanned five matches.

This loss also had playoff implications for the team. Up until this loss, the Thunderbirds were in first place in the conference with only one loss.

Now having two losses, the team has been bumped to second place despite having the same record as two other teams.

Spokane and Bellevue both have a record of 6-2 in conference, like the Thunderbirds, but the Northwest Athletic Conference is giving the edge to Bellevue because their overall record is the best at 6-3.

The Thunderbirds have more wins on the season than Bellevue with eight, but because they also have more losses -seven- Bellevue has a higher win percentage, which gives them the tie breaker.

Going into the championship the league has no clear favorite because Spokane, Bellevue, and Highline split their season matches with one another, meaning they have both beaten each other and lost to one other which is why the overall win percentage was used as a tie breaker.

With a loss that carried so many implications, one might wonder how confident the team feels in themselves right now.

Thunderbirds Head Coach Laura Rosa said losing was disappointing but is confident the team can win when it counts.

"The loss to Spokane was certainly disappointing, but ultimately, we are confident we can beat them in the tournament," Rosa said.

For some, this loss may get in the head of a team and worry them throughout the upcoming championship, but Rosa said that is not the case.

"We are not worried. We know who we are, we know what we can do, and we will always play to our strengths," Rosa said.

"A win for Spokane this weekend was simply a chance for us to again find what we need to focus on in our final week of preparation," Rosa said.

Following this loss, the team spent some extra time on the court; not to train before the tournament, but to teach.

The Thunderbirds served as volunteer coaches for the annual Jensen-Schmidt Tennis Academy for Down Syndrome.

The camp for special needs athletes is held yearly at the Boeing Employee Tennis Center.

Rosa said that this experience was great for the team and for the campers.

"We were honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful event. I think the team got as much out of the experience as the campers," Rosa said.

"We are headed into the championships this weekend with everything in perfect perspective," Rosa said.

The Thunderbirds will carry this new perspective with them to the Northwest Athletic Conference tournament May 11 – 12 at Spokane Falls Community College.

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