NORTH LOGAN — When the Wolves and Bobcats were finally able to complete their second of two Region 11 showdowns, there was no lack of drama.
For the second time this season, nearly every Green Canyon-Sky View girls varsity tennis match could have gone either way. The Wolves eked out a 3-2 win on Aug. 22 in Smithfield, and prevailed by the same scoreline on a picture perfect Friday afternoon at home.
The match was originally scheduled for Tuesday, postponed to Wednesday due to inclement weather, and then moved to Friday when a nasty rain and hailstorm sent players, coaches and fans scattering after about 45 minutes of play.
“You know, it always is (a grind) with Sky View,” GC assistant coach Camille Jeppson said. “Somehow everybody shows up and it’s always a very competitive match, and the tension’s high and they want to win so badly, and then the nerves come into play. ... Momentum just swung back and forth so many times between that first singles, first doubles and second doubles matches.”
Indeed, there were some wild momentum swings in several of the matches, especially both doubles contests. Both doubles matches went to three sets when the Wolves and Bobcats squared off in August, and that was again the case Friday.
Sky View’s No. 1 tandem of Rachel Chipman and Alijah Thedell came from behind to capture three straight games and take a seemingly commanding 5-2 lead in the decisive third set against Grace Goble and Olivia Phillips. To their credit, Phillips and Goble refused to panic. The Green Canyon duo even saved a pair of match points at 5-4 in the decisive third set en route to a nailbiting 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 victory.
“Yeah, they really pulled it together tremendously there at the end of that third set,” Jeppson said. “They could have just folded, and both Grace and Olivia just toughened up, talked to each other, kept buoying each other up.”
While Goble and Phillips were wrapping up their come-from-behind win, Green Canyon’s second doubles team was taking a medical timeout to nurse Reagan Baxter’s leg/knee injury. Baxter wanted to continue, but once Phillips and Goble secured the team win for the Wolves, they made a decision to concede the second match by injury default.
Sky View’s Emily Coombs and Saydee Godfrey were leading Baxter and Gracie Beecher 2-1 in the third set when the decision was made, putting the final scoreline at 4-6, 7-5, 2-1. Godfrey and Coombs also prevailed in three sets back in August.
“We felt once we collected the team win we’d rather get Reagan healthy for next week,” Jeppson said.
The first singles match was decided in two sets, but it was also a barnburner that featured some crazy momentum swings. Sky View’s Rachel Dursteler entered Friday’s action with a 4-2 lead over Alli Phillips in the first set, but Phillips came out aggressive and claimed the final four games to steal the set.
Dursteler battled back and won the first three games of the second set, including two on Phillips’ serves. Phillips then proceeded to win the next three games. All in all there were eight service breaks in the set, which was decided in a tiebreaker.
Dursteler gamely fended off a trio of match points trailing 6-5 in the second set, but Phillips bounced back by smacking a couple winners early in the tiebreaker, which loomed large in her 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) win.
“Like you said, it was going back and forth and back and forth, and sometimes it was like, ‘oh, I’ve got this,’ and then she would break back,” Phillips said. “I feel like most of the second set was just a mental game, and so I think mentally I was telling myself, ‘OK, you’ve got to forget that point and move onto the next one.’ And that’s what I did, and it helped me a lot.”
Likewise, the second singles match also featured some lengthy runs. Green Canyon’s Madi Gray fell behind 3-1 in the second set, but rattled off four consecutive games before Sky View’s Dana Kim turned the tide by winning the final four games and ultimately claiming a 6-4, 7-5 victory.
Kim bounced back nicely from her marathon three-set loss to Mountain Crest’s Ali Schroder on Thursday.
“We got into every match with a competitive mindset and the will to win,” SV head coach Anna Lyne said. “We see each school as a challenge, rather than a rival, which pushes us to perform at our best. I know our girls gave their very best today and I’m proud of how they played.”
In the other singles match, Green Canyon’s Phoenix Davis capped off a great week with another straight-sets triumph at the No. 3 position, this time 6-4, 6-0 over Bobcat Rachel Lattin.
“She’s our rock,” Jeppson said of Davis. “... Even if she gets down, she can pull it right back together and pull out the win every time. She’ll sometimes get overlooked because she’s just steady and gets it done ... so we’re really happy with Phoenix and how strong she’s playing and what a great player she’s been for us.”