Steamboat doubles teams capitalize on experience and volleyball background, go undefeated through weekend
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In team tennis, everyone gathers around one court at the end of the day to watch the No. 4 doubles team.
Sometimes, like in the case of the home tournament on March 16, the No. 4 doubles team is the tie-breaking match to determine who takes home the team win.
The team of Katelyn Kline and Kara Stanhope hone that role for Steamboat Springs, and led the Sailors to a home tournament victory over Golden in the finals in March.
“One aspect of it it’s kind of nice when you have your whole team when they’re already done so they can cheer for you,” Stanhope said. “But it is a lot of pressure because you feel like you have to win to place a certain spot in the tournament, but I don’t mind it.”
“I play better under pressure,” Kline said.
Kline and Stanhope, came out victorious in both of their matches against Aspen’s Rose Becker and Sophie Wilcon 6-0, 6-1 and Conifer’s Meagan Coffee and Amber Prescott 6-0, 6-1 on Saturday.
It’s the duo’s first year playing together, but their different styles compliment each other. Kline volleys with a lot of power at the net, while Stanhope’s speed allows her to get to every shot.
“We’ve noticed a lot of growth throughout our doubles lineup,” Steamboat head coach Kristyn Wykert said. “They’re making smarter shots as a whole. They’re becoming more aggressive. We’ve done a lot of stuff trying to get them up to the net and trying to take the game from a defensive game to an offensive game and in today’s matches it was really showing.”
As a whole, Steamboat’s tennis teams went undefeated against Aspen and Conifer on Saturday.
Each doubles team has a different style, but what’s similar is that most of them have at least one volleyball player.
Kline was the senior libero on the Steamboat volleyball team.
“I don’t get to take overheads in volleyball because I’m libero,” Kline said. “I used to play softball, and when there wasn’t a team anymore, I needed something to stay in shape for volleyball. Probably 75% of the tennis team plays volleyball, so all the girls are like, ‘Come play tennis.'”
March 8 and 9: at Grand Junction
March 15 and 16: home tournament
March 20: at Evergreen
March 23: vs. Fruita Monument
March 29: at Thompson Valley
March 30: at Poudre
April 3: at Vail Mountain
April 6: vs. Aspen
April 6: vs. Conifer
April 11: at Ralston Valley
April 12: at Eaton
May 3 and 4: at Delta
May 9 to 11: state
Lauren Ehrlich, a junior on the No. 1 doubles team with junior Morgan Sauerbrey, was defensive specialist for the varsity volleyball team.
Senior Maddie Heydon and junior Soria Rabanal, who also play volleyball for Steamboat, are the No. 3 doubles team. Heydon was an outside hitter on varsity.
“The No. 3 doubles team, they’re movements are kind of like volleyball, they set the net player up,” Wykert said. “They do a lot of one-on-one back play, but they set each other up at the net, kind of like what they do in volleyball.”
Heydon likes the team aspect of doubles tennis.
“I like that I can rely on someone to help pick me up and I can help pick them up when I need it,” Heydon said. “And not just be yelling at myself.”
The No. 1 and No. 3 doubles team come off a week of success in Grand Junction. The No. 1 doubles team won the tournament while the No. 3 doubles team took home third place.
Sauerbrey and Ehrlich fought through a 14-12 tiebreaker in the first round and a tough second match to climb the ladder in the tournament. They beat a Palmer Ridge team in the third round, a school that had knocked most of the Sailors out of the tournament to ultimately earn a spot in the championship against Fruita Monument.
“We won the first set, and whenever we win the first set, especially against a team like Fruita, I feel like they’re going to come back harder,” Sauerbrey said. “And they did, but we just excelled and ended up winning the second set, and we were in awe. The other two years we’ve been at this tournament, we’ve lost first round. We played our best tennis.”
The key to their success was learning how to team up closer at the net.
“Instead of playing one up, on back, they fought their way up to the net and fought these other teams at the net,” Steamboat assistant tennis coach Bill Krueger said. “We talked about it and they said, ‘It works! Both of us coming in!’ It was fun to see them so excited and see that they’re more aggressive when they come to the net.”
Sauerbrey and Ehrlich handled arch rival Aspen 6-1, 7-5 and Conifer 6-2, 6-0 on Saturday. Heydon and Rabanal defeated Aspen 7-5, 6-3, then Conifer 6-0, 6-1.
The No. 2 doubles team of freshmen Liesel Wilkinson and Lauren Fullerton defeated Aspen 6-0, 6-3 then Conifer 6-1, 6-3.
Steamboat junior Mae Thorp fell to Aspen’s Mary Williams 6-0, 6-3. Senior Lily Fox also fell to Macy Hopkinson, 6-3, 6-4. No. 3 singles junior Noelle Cerone split sets with Karina Keller 6-3, 5-7 then won through a 10-8 tiebreaker.
The singles teams all came back to demolish the competition against Conifer. Thorp defeated Alex Edwards 6-0, 6-0. Fox defeated Jess Gudakker 6-1, 6-1. Cerone defeated Ava Dalton 6-0, 6-0.
As a team, Steamboat defeated Aspen 5-2 and Conifer 7-0.
Steamboat goes undefeated against Vail Mountain
All of the Steamboat tennis players went undefeated at Vail Mountain on Friday, April 5.
Thorp won at No. 1 singles over Ali Bennett 6-0, 6-1. Fox won at No. 2 singles against Beyli McSpadden 6-1, 7-5. Cerone defeated Millie Zhu at No. 3 singles, 6-3, 6-3.
No. 1 team Sauerbrey and Ehrlich defeated Catherine Dowley and Mis Cooper 6-2, 6-2. Fullerton and Wilkinson defeated Gracie Allen and Taylor Macik 6-2, 6-2.
Heydon and Rabanal defeated Caroline Chipals and Henns Slevin in straight sets 6-0, 6-0. Stanhope and kline defeated Celis Barne and Vicky Rosado 6-2, 6-1.
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