Three of four Delta doubles teams saw chances for a state tennis qualification disappear last Saturday at the Class 3A Region 8 tennis tournament in Grand Junction.
The four doubles team of Peyton Schuster and Lucy Streich advanced to finals on a 6-1, 6-3 win over Vail Mountain and a quarterfinal 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) win over Aspen. In the championship match they faced top-seeded Steamboat Springs, narrowly losing a three-set battle to place second.
"They're very competitive. They never give up. They don't like to lose," said Delta head coach Mike Chastain of Schuster and Streich.
And they have a great attitude. They'd never faced Steamboat Springs, a school that has largely dominated regional competition for the past several years, and went in knowing they're facing the best team on the courts. After splitting the first two sets, 6-2, 2-6, (6-4), they kept up with Steamboat for much of the third set. At one point, Schuster closed her eyes and lobbed the ball for the point, leaving Delta trailing, 5-4.
The pair said they kept fighting. They noticed the Steamboat players would get down on themselves when they'd make a mistake and tried to take advantage of that to get fired up even more. "We try to stay positive and moving and upbeat and that really helps," said Streich.
The players said they played a close game, but lost on serves. "The serves just really got us," said Schuster. Had they been better able to respond to Steamboat's low, fast serves, it would have been a different outcome.
After Glenwood Springs defeated Aspen in the third place match, Glenwood Springs challenged Schuster and Streich for second place, defeating them in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. Heading into the playback against Glenwood Springs the Delta team remained upbeat. It helped, they said, knowing they'd already won a match against Glenwood early in the season in a tiebreaker.
As a doubles team they ended the season with one loss. Schuster and Streich work well as a team in part because they're also teammates on the volleyball court.
With four seniors on the team, they won't know until challenge matches begin next spring if they'll be a team again next year, or if they'll both be playing doubles.
In the two doubles match for third place, Delta's Kaleigh Nethington and Pascalina Early split sets with Macy O'Rourke and Haley Park of Paonia, 6-2, 3-6, with Paonia winning the third set, 6-3. At three doubles, Hannah Branson and Shyanne Steele opened with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Cedaredge and received a bye in consolation semifinals. In the third-place match they lost to Glenwood Springs, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.