GIRLS TENNIS SCHEDULE
7 vs. North Coast Prep, 10 a.m.(Del Norte 7 North Coast Prep 2)
10 vs. Fortuna, 3:30 p.m. (Del Norte 8 Fortuna 1)
17 vs. St Bernard’s, 3:30 p.m.
21 at McKinleyville, 10 a.m.
24 at Eureka, 3:30 p.m.
28 vs. Arcata, 10 a.m.
1 at North Coast Prep, 3:30 p.m. (matches to be played at Del Norte High School)
5 at Fortuna, 10 a.m.
12 at St Bernard’s, 10 a.m.
15 vs. McKinleyville, 3:30 p.m.
19 vs. Eureka, 10 a.m.
22 at Arcata, 3:30 p.m.
26 Humboldt-Del Norte League Singles Championships at Fortuna
1 Humboldt-Del Norte League Doubles Championships at Fortuna
9 Humboldt Del Norte League Makeup Matches
The Del Norte girls tennis team opened up its 2019 season in impressive fashion, cruising to a 7-2 victory over North Coast Preparatory Academy in Humboldt-Del Norte League action at Del Norte High School Saturday.
Del Norte’s Danika Scott and Aliyah Rafalowski got the home team off to a quick start with consecutive victories from the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions. Scott posted a 6-0, 6-0 victory, while Rafalowski won her match 6-1, 6-2.
From there things got a bit more interesting, beginning with the No. 3 singles match, as the Warriors Emily Feeney breezed to a 6-1 victory in the opening set of her match, but proceeded to drop the second set 6-4, which set up a decisive third set. Feeney earned a break of serve in game seven of the third set, taking a 4-3 lead and ultimately capturing the set 6-4 and winning the match.
North Coast Prep showed no signs of going away though, as the squad captured the No. 4 and No. 5 singles matches to get within 3-2 on the overall scoreboard before the Warriors Cynda Thao closed out the singles play portion of the afternoon with an 8-0 victory in the No. 6 position on the ladder.
That was the extent of a North Coast Prep comeback attempt though, as the Warriors swept the three doubles matches to finish the afternoon. Del Norte’s tandem of Scott and Rafalowski breezed to an 8-2 victory from the No. 1 doubles position, while the home team duo of Camarena and Thao won their match from the No. 3 spot by an 8-3 margin. Things were not as routine for the No. 2 doubles team though, as Feeney and Ward eked out an 8-6 tiebreaker victory.
Although it’s an overused cliche, in this particular case it’s also fitting.
What may appear to be a lopsided outcome in the eyes of those not in attendance, Tuesday afternoon’s Humboldt-Del Norte League match between the Del Norte Warriors and Fortuna Huskies played at Del Norte High School was anything but a one-sided affair. In a contest that featured two singles matches that extended a full three sets in the best-of-three format and another that very easily could have gone the distance, the home team Warriors defeated the Huskies 8-1 to remain undefeated in the very early going of the league season.
The heart palpitations started straight from the opening match of singles play, as, after being broken in her first service game of the match, Del Norte’s Danika Scott found herself trailing 2-0 in the opening set. That was just the start of the drama though, as Scott responded with a break of service and a hold of service in consecutive games to tie the set at two games apiece. From there it was a back-and-forth affair point for point, with neither side willing to give up any semblance of momentum. With the set tied at 5-5 and Scott facing a deuce point and potential break of service, the Warrior senior executed a beautifully strategically placed drop shot just over the net and out of reach of her Huskies opponent, resulting in a game-winning point that gave Scott a 6-5 advantage. Scott then proceeded to serve out the set in a 7-5 margin.
After winning the first set, it appeared Scott had things well under control in the second, as the Warrior senior took a quick 4-1 lead in the second set and was seemingly in command. Appearances were deceiving though, as her Huskies opponent reeled off three consecutive games to tie things up a 4-4 and put things very much in doubt. Leading 5-4 and serving for the match, Scott was broken in game 10, leaving the score tied at 5-5 and setting the stage for a dramatic finish. After Scott answered with a service break in game 11, the Warrior senior once again had the match potentially on her racket, as only a hold of serve stood between her and the match victory. After a see-saw game, Scott served an ace on what proved to be match point to outlast her opponent and improve her own individual season record to 2-0 in singles play.
That was only the beginning though, as, the adjacent court, Del Norte’s Aliyah Rafalowski was herself locked up in a tight contest with her Huskies opponent in the No. 2 singles match. After dropping the first set of the match by a 6-4 count, a brief talking to from coaches in addition to her own internal mental conversation seemed to turn the tide, as Rafalowski proceeded to win the second set by an identical 6-4 score to force a decisive third set. Propelled by the momentum of the second set victory, Rafalowski ultimately cruised to a decisive 6-2 victory in the third set, giving the home team a two matches to none lead.
In what was in reality the only one-sided match of the afternoon, Del Norte’s Emily Feeney breezed to a 6-0, 6-1 victory from the No. 3 singles position to give the home team a larger cushion, but the Huskies had no plans to go away, as Del Norte’s Liz Ward found herself down a set in the No. 4 singles match before outlasting her opponent in a second set tiebreaker 7-6 that evened things up at a set apiece. As though the second set tiebreaker wasn’t tense enough, the two players decided to make things that much more interesting and heart pounding by playing to a virtual draw in the third and final set before Ward once again outlasted her opponent in a 7-6 victory via tiebreaker in the third set.
The drama didn’t stop there, as Cynda Thao came away with an 8-5 victory from the No. 5 singles position in a pro-set scoring format match before the Warriors Aiden Schaad dropped an 8-6 outcome in the No. 6 singles match. The Warriors then completed the afternoon of action with a sweep of the three doubles matches, as the tandem of Scott and Rafalowski and the duo of Thao and Schaad both won their matches from the No. 1 and No. 3 spots by identical 8-4 margins. The pairing of Feeney and Ward breezed to an 8-2 victory in the No. 2 doubles match.
The Del Norte girls’ tennis team was scheduled to be on the road for two matches last week, one at Ferndale High School and the other at St Bernard’s High School. However, the former was canceled as the Wildcats don’t have a team and the latter was switched to Del Norte High School only to have Mother Nature have other plans and force a postponement.
With that as a backdrop, after 10 unplanned days off from competition, the Warriors returned to the courts Saturday, traveling to McKinleyville to take on the Panthers in Humboldt-Del Norte League action. The Warriors breezed to their third consecutive victory of the season, defeating the Panthers 9-0, on an afternoon that saw Del Norte drop a total of five games in six singles matches.
For the second time in three singles matches thus far this season, Del Norte senior Danika Scott didn’t drop a single game in winning her match 6-0, 6-0 from the top spot on the ladder. Emily Feeney and Monique Camarena also won their matches by those same 6-0, 6-0 scores from the No. 3 and No. 6 spots respectively. Aliyah Rafalowski and Cynda Thao each surrendered just one game in their respective matches, with Rafalowski winning her No. 2 singles match 6-1, 6-0 and Thao breezing to a 6-0, 6-1 victory in her No. 5 singles match. Liz Ward also cruised to a comfortable 6-1, 6-3 win from the No. 4 singles spot.
The Warriors made equally quick work of the Panthers in doubles action, as Feeney and Ward teamed up to post an 8-0 victor in the No. 2 doubles match in the pro-set scoring format. Thao and Camarena won their No. 3 doubles match by an identical 8-0 margin, while Scott and Rafalowski wasted little time in posting an 8-2 victory from the No. 1 singles position.
The Warriors are scheduled to play two H-DNL matches this week, the first coming Tuesday as they travel to Eureka to take on the Loggers at Eureka High School. Action is scheduled to get underway at 3:30 p.m. The Warriors are then scheduled to play host to the Arcata Tigers Saturday at Del Norte High in what could potentially be a battle of two undefeated teams, provided continue to take care of their respective business. Saturday’s matches are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.