Removal from the courts
Fresh off district titles, momentum was rolling in the Tigers’ and Lady Tigers’ favor.
But that momentum was quickly brought to a screeching halt on their home courts in Tuesday’s Region 2-3A semifinals.
Columbia’s boys and girls tennis teams were both dominated on the singles courts, so much so that neither team was even able to advance to doubles matches.
Nease swept the girls 5-0 while Seabreeze defeated the boys 4-1 to advance to the Region 2-3A finals later this week.
Despite a rough afternoon, both head coaches at Columbia were still pleased with a successful season. The boys won their first district title in 14 seasons, while the girls won their first district crown since 2010.
“I was proud of the way they played today,” Columbia boys coach Tom Moore said. “There was nobody out there that didn’t give it their all. Everyone gave it their all. [Seabreeze] was a better team. They’re a tough team.”
Added girls coach Tabatha McMahon, “I’m very proud of my team. We haven’t been in this position since 2010, when we won the district in a different district. They played optimal at districts. Coming in here, we knew this team was going to be tough to beat. Several of their players are ranked, and they’re from a district that plays a lot of tennis.”
The only match the boys were able to take from Seabreeze came in No. 4 singles, and even that came by the skin of Reid Wehrli’s teeth.
Wehrli took the first set from Noah Thompson 7-6 before dropping the second 4-6. The two then went to a tiebreaker, which Wehrli took 10-7.
The sophomore was hoping to keep the boys’ hopes alive after Akash Ghandi, Colin Broome and Daniel Rendel all dropped their matches in singles Nos. 1-3. Ghandi struggled against Will Greaves (6-0, 6-1), as did Rendel against Collin West (6-1, 6-0).
Broome kept it close with James Vuille-Kowing for a set before also losing in straight sets (6-4, 6-0).
While Wehrli went back and forth with Thompson, No. 5 Brandon Helms took the court to face Dane Hawthorne but was quickly outmatched and swept in straight sets (6-0, 6-0) to give Seabreeze the 4-1 team victory.
Seabreeze entered Tuesday’s match with an undefeated season record and proved too talented for a young boys team to swing down.
“Now the boys know what it takes to get to the next level, to win regionals and get to state,” Moore said.
Only senior Chase Broome was able to take more than two games for the Lady Tigers, falling to Nease’s Jackie Cicalese (6-1, 6-2) in No. 4 singles in her final high school match.
“It was just long. It went to deuce a lot of the time, so it wasn’t like it was 40-0, 40-0,” Broome said. “There were just little mistakes.”
Columbia’s No. 1 Cassidy Lear and No. 2 Megan Zahnle were both swept in two sets by nationally ranked players, with Lear losing to Katherine Jakeway (6-0, 6-0) and Zahnle falling to Gabrela Castello (6-0, 6-0).
Lear, Columbia’s team captain, had no regrets with her performance.
“I felt like I did pretty good. We had a lot of long rallies, and I was happy with how I played, even though the score didn’t reflect that,” Lear said.
Columbia’s No. 3 Brittany Helms also fell to Jenna Tassopoulos (6-1, 6-1), while Faith Johnson was beaten by Marlene Frauenfelder II (6-0, 6-1).