In what Paonia tennis coach Brian Benson described as "an old fashioned barn-burner," the Eagles played their way to a 5-2 win over league foe Cedaredge in Delta on Tuesday afternoon.
Benson quipped, "I don't know if you really use that term for tennis matches, but we had a lot of close matches to say the least."
Cedaredge's Ali Pfenneberger defeated Kambry Hall in straight sets 6-2 and 6-3. "Hall did an admirable job filling in for our normal 1S player Jessie Holt, who was out this week with a back injury."
The 2S match was an epic affair with Paonia's McKenna Erickson and the Bruins' Elizabeth Ponce playing almost three hours. "Both girls were outstanding and just so evenly matched," noted Benson. Erickson eventually won the match 6-3, 6-7(5-7) and 10-3.
Paonia's 3S player, Kelsey Stroud, defeated Jasmine Huggett in straight sets 6-0, 6-0. Benson noted, "Kelsey is just getting stronger and more consistent with each match she plays."
After losing the first set, 6-7(5-7), Paonia's 1D pair, Brandi Goddard and Kayla Carter bounced back with scores of 6-4 and 10-5 to defeat Samantha Ribbens and Addison Schwarz.
At 2D, Cedaredge's Sarah Tullis and Rikki Klausen defeated the Eagles' Emily Wilczek and Haley Park in another three-set match for the day. Tullis and Klausen lost the first set 1-6 then came back with wins of 7-6 (7-5) and 10-8. Benson noted, "This was a match we seemed to be in complete control until the middle of the second set, and then the Cedaredge girls caught fire and couldn't put it out. Great job by the Cedaredge duo."
Paonia got back to a winning mode in 3D play. Bailee Campbell and Macy O'Rourke, with yet another three-set match, dropped the first set 4-6 before rallying for 6-4 and 10-3 scores in the next two sets. "Bailee and Macy really seized control toward the end of the second set and then momentum carried them through the tiebreak. These two are playing pretty well right now," said Benson.
Sierra Griffith and Ashley Ziemer were solid in their win over Cedaredge's Caitlyn Bowen and Olivia McCrackin (6-3, 6-2) in 4D play.
The Eagles were at home for a pair of matches later in the week, beginning with a Thursday match against Grand Junction's junior varsity squad. Saturday's matchup with Fruita's junior varsity resulted in a 6-1 for the Eagles.
Against Fruita, the only loss for the Eagles was at 1S, where Holt was still rehabbing an injured back. The rest of the matches were wins in straight sets noted Benson.
The team win puts Paonia at 7-0 in team duals on the season. Matches against Aspen and Montrose on April 28 will more than test Paonia's mettle.