Montesano’s unbeaten doubles team of April Easter and Katie Ayres used a dominating performance to capture the District IV Class 1A championship last weekend at Vancouver.
Easter and Ayres dropped only seven games in three matches. They qualified for the state tournament that begins Friday in Yakima.
After opening with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over a Castle Rock pair, Easter and Ayres trounced another Castle Rock team, Tiffany Tomlin and Marissa Cloke, 6-2, 6-1, in the semifinals.
They then routed Tenino’s Erin Engebreth and Natalie Hall, 6-2, 6-1, in the championship match.
Easter and Ayres were at the peak of their form in beating a Tenino team that Bulldog coach Theresa Helland said also played well.
“The final was the best I’ve ever seen them play,” Helland said of Easter and Ayres. “I haven’t seen (Katie) return that well, ever. And all week long, we kind of worked on overheads. They were backing up to the service line and hitting overhead winners. By the middle of the second set, you could see frustration set in (on Tenino’s part).”
Bailey Malizia and Elizabeth Taborski, Montesano’s other doubles team, earned state alternate status by placing third.
Malizia and Taborski opened by downing White Salmon’s Caitlyn Lavette and Jasmine Montero, 6-0, 6-4; and Castle Rock’s Alexis Everett and Elsie Martinez, 6-3, 6-4. Experiencing early difficulty dealing with the hard serves of Engebreth and Hall, they lost to the Tenino duo, 6-1, 6-4, in the semifinals.
Taborski and Malizia topped Tomlin and Cloke, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, in the match to decide third and fourth places.
The top two in singles and doubles earned state berths.
Montesano’s Ally McHatton upset Tenino’s Hailey Holmgren, 6-3, 7-5, in the opening round of singles, before falling to Castle Rock’s unbeaten Faith Stein, 6-3, 6-0. McHatton was eliminated by King’s Way Christian’s Jasmine Nesbitt in straight sets.
Monte’s Hunter Hancock dropped her opening singles match.
The Bulldogs placed a school-best second in the district team competition, determined on a point system. They finished one point behind district champion Castle Rock.