The Montezuma-Cortez Lady Panthers tennis team placed fifth in the 11-team Delta Tournament last Thursday and Friday in Delta.
M-CHS (3-2, 0-1 5A/4A Southwestern League) got 17 points as a team. Durango won the tournament with 97 points and host Delta was second with 49 points. Fruita Monument and Montrose were third and fourth with 39 and 19 points.
The first thing that comes to my mind is the level of play, in terms of skill, increased significantly with that tournament, M-CHS coach Dan Wood said. We had a goal that this was going to be a tournament for us to learn about other teams, increase our skills and have a good time. I think we met all three of those goals.
The Lady Panthers did quite well at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles play. Seniors Andi Pickens and Jessica Gonzalez (7-2) posted a 3-1 tourney record. The duo beat Glenwood Springs, 7-5, 6-1, Montrose, 6-4, 6-3, and knocked off Delta, 6-4, 6-3. Pickens and Gonzalez lost a tough match to Durangos Sierra Lillard and Kari Bjorlin, 6-6 (5-7), 6-3, 4-6. Both losses this season have came to Lillard and Bjorlin.
The No. 3 doubles team of Roni Shaner and Charley Stewart also posted a 3-1 mark. The senior and junior got wins over the Fruita junior varsity (8-6), Montrose (8-2) and Glenwood Springs (8-5). The lone defeat was a heartbreaker to Hotchkiss, 4-6, 6-4, 7-10 (T).
The No. 2 doubles team of Reana Conklin and Sarah Baker went 0-2, and the No. 4 doubles team of Ysaline Spaey and Jordan Valdez was 1-2.
At No. 1 Singles, Abbi Pickens finished 0-2. At No. 2 and No. 3 singles, Sadee Threlkeld and Brie Odell were each 1-2.
Theres room for improvement. Theres no doubt about that, Wood said. The single thing that were going to be working on is anticipation. In tennis, its such a fast game, you got to predict where the ball is going and start to move before it gets across the net. Well be working on that for the next week.
M-CHS will play a neutral site match against Glenwood Springs on Saturday at 10 a.m. in Moab, Utah.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at email@example.com.