Steamboat girls tennis team opens season with victory over Basalt |

Steamboat girls tennis team opens season with victory over Basalt

Steamboat Springs High School sophomore tennis player Kayla O'Brien returns a serve during the No. 2 doubles match with teammate Sloane Speer in a meeting with Basalt at home Saturday. (Photo by Shelby Reardon)

Evan Quinn pumped a fist and looked at her family after taking a 5-1 lead in the No. 1 singles match Saturday. It was her first high school match, and she was on the doorstep of her first win.

Steamboat Springs High School tennis head coach Eliot Guin was impressed that she stayed energetic and positive as she defeated her opponent 6-0, 6-1. Her teammates had similar results as Steamboat defeated Basalt 6-1 at home.

“That’s a really good sign,” Guin said. “It’s easy when you’re way up to go away mentally with your focus. It’s good to see a player at the end of what was a pretty easy match for her; it’s good to see her engaged. She’ll have much more challenging matches ahead of her, but that’s a great sign. It means she can bring her level to any match and not always play based on the person in front of you.”

The freshman earned the spot as the top individual player after a few days of challenge matches with her teammates. Guin said she was the clear choice. She’s been playing since she was five or six, thanks to her parents, and she said she’s super glad she’s stuck with the sport.

“At first, I was pretty nervous,” Quinn said. “But once I warmed up and started hitting my shots, I knew it was good.”

She’s one day into her high school career and already hoping to hold the No. 1 singles spot for her entire career.

“That’s the dream,” she said.

While Quinn and No. 2 singles player Kelsey Norland played indoors at the Steamboat Tennis and Pickleball Center, everyone else was enjoying the sunny, 70-degree day. Between the scores and the sunshine, there were so many smiles around, especially from the Sailors. The entire team was grinning ear to ear as all but one doubles pairing collected their first high school wins.

Seniors Ella Chapman and Posy Skov competed in their first tennis match at No. 4 doubles. They fell in the first set but swept the second 6-0 and won 10-4 in the tie breaker. Freshmen Charlotte Teuscher and Avery Olson played at No. 3 doubles, lost the first set, battled back in the second and lost in the tie breaker.

“This was a great first matchup for us, especially for the girls at three and four doubles who have never played a match before. That was awesome,” Guin said. “That was the perfect level for us. I think it would have been really tough to play one of the really strong teams and get crushed. Both of those doubles teams dropped the first set and took the second one, so that’s what I told them I was most proud of. They stayed in it; they stayed happy and smiling.”

The No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Kayla O’Brien and freshman Sloane Speer won 6-1, 6-1, and discovered they made a great pairing.

“We were really good at attacking the net, and Sloane had really good serves,” O’Brien said. “It was really consistent.”

Speer, who is playing tennis for the first time in years, showed no signs of rust Saturday. She was confident and steady all afternoon.

“I think we did a really good job of having attacks and not playing defensively, but more offensively,” Speer said. “It was a lot of fun.”

The pair played so well that Guin said he might have to consider moving one of them up to singles to see how they fare there.

“Sloan kind of came out of nowhere for us,” Guin said. “She played tennis here as a kid growing up, so I think the basics and the foundation was there. Kayla’s been around for a while, so no surprise there for her performance. Sloane, every day she’s out here you see more and more tennis surfacing.”

Steamboat Springs 6, Basalt 1

Singles: 1. Evan Quinn, SS, def. Mari Elliott, B, 6-0, 6-1. 2. Grace Brice, SS, def, Hannah Miller, B, 6-0, 6-0. 3. Kelsey Norland, SS, def. Yosi Melendez, B, 6-2, 6-0.

Doubles: 1. Sloane Kayla O’Brien, SS, def, Lesly Cruz Hernandez and Ella Lahey, B, 6-1, 6-1. 2. Kali Waldman and Amanda Dietrich, SS, def. Frida Rojo and Georgia Searles, B, 6-2, 6-3. 3. Ella Chapman and Posy Skov, SS, def. Ivett Del Cid, Natalia Monterroso, B, 4-6, 6-0, 10-4. 4. Eileen Babonoyaba and Angelie Niebla, B, def. Charlotte Teusher and Avery Olson, SS, 6-4, 2-6, 10-5.

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