The Del Norte girls’ tennis team fell 6-3 to the Arcata Tigers in Humboldt-Del Norte League action at Del Norte High School Tuesday afternoon, on a day that saw its share of dramatics from the opening match of the day until completion of play well into the evening. Next up for the Warriors is the Humboldt-Del Norte League singles championships, which will take place Saturday. Although the Warriors will be the host school, the matches themselves will be played at Fortuna High School.
As for Tuesday, the afternoon began with doubles’ action, as the Warrior tandem of Jasmine Pearson and Danika Scott got the home team off to an emphatic start with an 8-0 victory. Del Norte’s Aliyah Rafalowski and Emily Feeney then teamed up to face Arcata’s duo of Kendra Flint and Sydni Sobota, with the Warrior pairing outlasting their opponents by an 8-5 margin, giving the home team a quick two matches to none lead and some early momentum.
Then came the start of what would be nail-biting action throughout the remainder of the day and evening, as doubles’ action concluded with Del Norte’s Monique Camarena and Vanessa Vongphachan battling point for point with their Tigers’ opponents in the No. 3 doubles match. It would be the Tigers who would ultimately squeak out an 8-7 victory in a pro-set match that was settled in a tiebreaker, as the Tigers cut the overall match deficit to 2-1 heading into the six singles matches.
Pearson, playing in her final match at Del Norte High School as the lone senior on the roster, got off to a quick start, capturing a 7-5 first set victory over Arcata’s Aimee Reiner and seemingly taking momentum before Reiner knotted things at a set apiece with a 6-1 victory, setting the stage for a decisive third set. In that third set, it was Reiner who seized command early and never looked back en route to a 6-2 victory, which tied the overall contest at two matches apiece.
After Scott gave the Warriors back the overall match lead with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Flint in the No. 2 singles match, the Tigers once again had an answer, as Sobota posted a straight set 6-2, 6-2 victory over Feeney to once again tie things, this time at three matches apiece.
With the afternoon tied at three matches apiece, the stage was set for what was the most hotly contested matches of the day, as Del Norte’s Aliyah Rafalowski faced Arcata’s Casey McAtasney in what can only be described as a marathon. The epic battle started with McAtasney eking out a 7-6 (8-6) victory to take a one set lead in a match that would not only go the distance in duration, but would involve each of the three sets in the best-of-three format also being decided in tiebreakers. Rafalowski drew even at one set apiece with a 7-6 (7-2) victory in the second set, however it was McAtasney who wound up capturing the third and final set, and the match, with a 7-6 (7-3) victory in the third set, thus giving Arcata a four matches to three lead with just two matches remaining in the best-of-nine format.
Although it would be the Tigers Simone Haggerty’s 8-2 victory over Del Norte’s Elizabeth Ward in the No. 5 singles match that ultimately gave Arcata their fifth match win of the day and secured the overall victory, that wasn’t the end of the afternoon and evening of action by any stretch of the imagination. With one singles match remaining to be played, Del Norte’s Cynda Thao matched up with Arcata’s Makayla Bernald in the No. 6 singles match, with Bernald coming away with an 8-5 victory