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Not only are the Wolves very talented this season, they have a wealth of depth.

Green Canyon has some junior varsity players that, quite frankly, would be varsity competitors on most girls tennis programs in the state. Even without Bailey Huebner, who is arguably the best player in the region, the Wolves managed to win a pair of Region 11 duals in convincing fashion this week.

Green Canyon swept Logan on Tuesday on the road, and traveled to Garland the following day and left with a 4-1 victory over Bear River. Liz Murri, who typically plays on the JV squad, beat one of the best No. 2 singles players in the region in Logan’s Kennedy Jenkins, 7-5, 6-1, and then teamed up with twin sister Emma to dispatch of Bear River’s second doubles tandem — also in straight sets.

In the process, Green Canyon improved to 8-0 in region duals this season. The Wolves haven’t lost a region dual since 2019.

“We were a little anxious when we first found out Bailey wouldn’t be able to play this week,” GC head coach Holly Haslem said. “Asking all the girls to play up a position is a big deal, especially against two teams as strong as Logan and Bear River. Our girls really focused and stepped up to the challenge.”

Halle Kendrick moved up a spot and secured a big 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Logan’s Angela Zhan at No. 1 singles. Emma Murri prevailed against the Grizzlies in straight sets at No. 3 singles, as did both Green Canyon doubles teams — Alice Wilkinson/Olivia Phillips (No. 1) and Maren McKenna/Ava Checketts (No. 2).

The Wolves mixed up their lineup against the Bears, who avoided the sweep thanks to defending Region 11 first singles champion Erika Olsen. Olsen lost to Huebner in a tight three-setter a couple weeks ago and will surely be motivated for a potential rematch at the region tournament, which is just two weeks away.

Wilkinson (No. 2) and Checketts (No. 3) played singles for the Wolves against the Bears. The Murri sisters competed at second doubles, while Green Canyon’s first doubles team was composed of Phillips and McKenna. The Wolves won all of those matches in straight sets.

OTHER REGION DUALS

Like Green Canyon, Ridgeline also went 2-0 this week, plus it improved to 7-1 against local opponents during the 2021 campaign. The Riverhawks defeated the Bears by a 4-1 scoreline Tuesday at home, and then held off Sky View, 3-2, Thursday in Smithfield.

Emma Hansen (No. 2) and Kaitlyn Horsburgh (No. 3) won both of their singles matches this week for the Riverhawks, while their No. 2 doubles duo of Katelyn Simon/Kiersten Daines also went 2-0. All of those matches were decided in two sets, although Hansen was tested by SV’s Kaiya Christiansen before reigning supreme, 7-5, 6-3.

Ridgeline’s Lucy Perez-Spencer and Alicia Smith teamed up for a nice straight-sets victory over a solid Bear River No. 1 doubles team. Olsen was triumphant at first singles for the Bears.

“I think we have a really strong region and I’m so proud of the Ridgeline girls for their victories this week,” Ridgeline head coach Scott Johnson said. “Ellie (Carlston) played great against strong opponents and continues to be a positive and kind leader. Emma fights for each point and keeps her opponents on their toes with her diverse and exciting game. Kaitlyn looks stronger every victory as she takes control of more and more points. Lucy and Alicia hit deep, powerful strokes and took over at the net. Katelyn and Kiersten seemed to be able to hit every spot of the courts their opponents left open with winner after winner.”

The Bobcats were also very competitive in their other dual this week as they were edged by Mountain Crest, 3-2, Tuesday in Hyrum. Sky View’s was missing top singles player Rachel Chipman in that showdown.

Chipman returned to action Thursday against Ridgeline and earned a big straight-sets win. Also prevailing for the Bobcats against the Riverhawks were the No. 1 doubles tandem of Allie Payne and Kennadee Wallace. Additionally, Wallace and Payne defeated the defending region runner-ups from Mountain Crest at first doubles, and are in great position to secure the No. 2 seed for the upcoming region tourney.

Sky View’s other victory against Mountain Crest took place at second singles as Romy Niederhauser was triumphant in two sets. That dual came down to a pair of three-setters, and the Mustangs came behind to win both of them. Rylee Turnbow beat Maddie Burt, 2-6, 7-5, 6-1, at No. 3 singles, while Anna Bindrup and Ashlyn Nielson outlasted Emily Ryan and Sarah Olsen, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, at No. 1 doubles.

This was a breakthrough week for Mountain Crest, which emerged victorious in both doubles matches in Thursday’s 3-2 setback on the road to Logan. Kate Hardy and Emma Child joined forces at No. 1 doubles for the Mustangs.

“The girls have been putting a lot of intensity and effort into their practices, which is helping them in their matches,” MC assistant coach Jake Hardy said. “Their focus and drive has also increased, causing them to play better and with more purpose.”

The Grizzlies swept all three singles matches against the Mustangs, and that lineup was comprised of Zhan (No. 1), Jenkins (No. 2) and Libby Parker (No. 3). Parker didn’t drop any games in her match.

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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