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It was a year later than they were hoping for, but the Bobcats battled their way to a breakthrough performance against a Region 11 opponent.

Sky View won three hard-fought singles matches and fared well in both doubles matches en route to a 5-0 victory over Mountain Crest in a region girls tennis dual on Friday in Smithfield.

This is Sky View’s first win over a team from the region since at least 2019 and perhaps since the school split with Green Canyon. The Bobcats came close a few times a year ago as they lost a pair of 3-2 heartbreakers to Bear River.

“I was so proud of our girls,” said SV head coach Mike Hansen, who is in his first season at the Bobcat helm. “Most of them were down at certain points during their matches and were still able to find a way to win. Romy Niederhauser and Rachel Chipman both had to dig really deep against great opponents to get wins in long matches. Romy and (Mountain Crest’s) Rylee Turnbow played an epic three-set match that lasted three hours and 20 minutes, which is probably the longest high school match that I’ve ever seen.”

The first and third singles matches were decided in a third set and both Bobcats prevailed in a tiebreaker to capture one of the sets. Chipman outlasted Kate Hardy 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 at first singles, while Niederhauser beat Turnbow in a 7-6, 6-7, 6-2 battle in attrition at the No. 3 spot.

Kaiya Christiansen was tested by Ashlyn Nielsen at second singles before prevailing 7-6, 6-3.

The Bobcats won both doubles matches in straight sets. Allie Payne and Kennadee Wallace teamed up at first doubles, and Emily Ryan and Sarah Olsen at the No. 2 position.

Simply put, Sky View did a great job bouncing back from Tuesday’s 5-0 loss to Green Canyon in the region opener for both programs. The Wolves went 10-0 in region duals a year ago and also reigned supreme at the Region 11 Championships.

It’s been a solid start to the 2021 campaign for the Bobcats, who won their flight at the Cache Valley Invitational last Thursday. Sky View hosted three other teams in the Bronze Flight and ended up matching 5A Box Elder with 12 team points, so the flight was decided by head-to-head game wins and the Bobcats prevailed by an extremely narow 37-36 margin.

The Sky View and Box Elder dual ended in a 3-3 tie. A third doubles position was included for this annual tournament. In their other two duals, the Bobcats dispatched of Carbon (4-2) and Tooele (5-1).

Chipman and Niederhauser both won two of their three singles matches for the Bobcats, while Payne and Wallace went 3-0 at first doubles, plus Maddie Burt and Mika Schwartz went 2-1 at second doubles. Sky View used three different third doubles teams and all three of them emerged victorious. Cecily Hansen and Skylee Haramoto competed in two of those matches, and Charlotte Wells and Sammy Smith in one apiece.

OTHER REGION DUALS

It’s been a dominant start to the Region 11 season for Green Canyon, which swept Sky View on Tuesday and Logan on Thursday. The defending region champions won all but one of their matches in straight sets, to boot.

Green Canyon star freshman Bailey Huebner only dropped one game in two matches at No. 1 singles this week. Halle Kendrick went 2-0 at No. 2 singles, while the Wolves were represented at No. 3 singles by Ava Checketts against the Bobcats and Emma Murri against the Grizzlies.

Reigning region No. 1 doubles champs Alice Wilkinson and Olivia Phillips only lost one game in each first doubles match this week. Maren McKenna and Liz Murri joined forces at No. 2 doubles against Sky View, while McKenna teamed up with Checketts against Logan. McKenna is the defending 4A state champion at second doubles.

“This year region play felt like it started so fast, but the girls have handled it in stride,” GC head coach Holly Haslem said. “They came in excited to practice and have pushed themselves to be better. It’s always tough playing another in-valley rival. Everyone always brings their A game. It’s such a mental challenge for these girls to play their friends. Most of them train together all year.”

Logan’s Kennedy Jenkins pushed Kendrick to a third set at the second singles spot. The Grizzlies only played once this week because Wednesday’s showdown with Bear River was rained out. Inclement weather forced all of the Region 11 teams to reschedule their Thursday duals for Friday.

It was also a good week for Ridgeline, which warmed up for its region duals by beating Uintah by a 5-1 Monday scoreline, and then swept Mountain Crest on Tuesday.

Ellie Carlston (No. 1), Emma Hansen (No. 2) and Kaitlyn Horsburgh (No. 3) all won both of their singles matches in convincing fashion. Horsburgh didn’t lose a single game, while Hansen double bageled her opponent from Uintah and only dropped one game against Mountain Crest.

Katelyn Simon and Kiersten Daines went 2-0 at second doubles for the Riverhawks, who got a No. 1 doubles victory against the Mustangs from Lucy Perez Spencer and Alicia Smith. Ridgeline played a third doubles match against Uintah, and Emree Rupp and Brynlee Nielsen were triumphant in straight sets for the Riverhawks.

Jason Turner is a sports reporter for The Herald Journal. He can be reached at jturner@hjnews.com or 435-792-7237.

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