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Ashland girls close in on district title

ROSEBURG ' North Medford's bid for a seventh straight district girls tennis championship was dealt a somewhat expected knockout blow Thursday afternoon.

Ashland, which went undefeated in SOC matches this season, placed two singles players and two doubles teams in Saturday's semifinals, essentially securing the Southern Oregon Conference district title for the Grizzlies.

You've got to take your hat off to Ashland, said North Medford coach Dale Jensen. They've played a very good tournament and have had a good season. As the holder of the district crown, I hate to relinquish it, but they're very well-deserving.

The district tournament concludes Saturday in Roseburg, with the top four placers in singles and doubles advancing to the Class 4A state championships May 22-24 in Portland and Beaverton.

— Ashland and North Medford will go head-to-head in both doubles semifinals as the top four seeds all advanced Thursday afternoon.

The top-seeded tandem of McKenzie Hilmer and Lauren Wilson for North is slated to take on the No. 4 seeds Chelsea Van Lehn and Kate Morris in one semifinal, with Shannon Leever and Annie Chaney, runners-up for North in last year's state championships, facing Ashland's top tandem of Justine Bowen-Jones and Jessica Baker in the other semi.

Both teams are playing pretty well, Jensen said of his remaining doubles squads. It's going to be fun Saturday. I'm hoping we can have an all-North Medford final, but they still have to get through two strong Ashland teams, so it'll be tough.

The tandem of Heather Dumas and Jennifer Pendergast almost helped North repeat its feat of having three doubles teams advance to state.

Despite being unseeded, the Dumas-Pendergast pairing won two matches Thursday before coming up short in the quarterfinals against Baker and Bowen-Jones, 6-2, 6-3.

The top two singles seeds from Roseburg, Becky Correll and Stacy Wetmore, easily advanced into Saturday's semifinals and will take on Ashland's Lauren Sargent and Kayla Moyse, respectively.

Correll, in search of her second straight district singles title, didn't drop a game in winning her only two matches Thursday. Wetmore plowed a more difficult path to the semifinals, edging Michelle Bellamy of Grants Pass, 6-4, 6-3, in the second round and Ashland's Kristina Lind in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 6-1.

Moyse also didn't surrender a game in advancing to the semifinals.

Sargent fought back to win a three-set match over Roseburg's Heather Bartlett in her first match of the day, then regrouped in the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-0 win over GP's Melissa Dean. Dean had advanced to the quarterfinals after stunning fourth-seeded Sonia Aguilera of North, 6-3, 6-1.

Aguilera joined teammates Kelsey Thornton and Valerie Iverson in losing their first district matches after receiving first-round byes.

Basically, it was first-match jitters, Jensen said. Your first match in districts is always tough, and they just couldn't do it today. It was just nerves.

Melissa Witten proved to be the only Tornado singles player not to falter in her first match, but she couldn't keep the momentum going in a hard-fought second-round loss to Lind, 7-5, 6-3.

SINGLES

FIRST ROUND

' Nicole Hoyal, SM, d. Trina Baker, KU, 6-4, 6-4; Camille Morris, A, d. Katie Tardieu, GP, 6-1, 6-3; Heather Bartlett, R, d. Ashleigh Ingeldew, SM, 6-0, 6-1; Melissa Dean, GP, d. Jacqueline Brown, KU, 6-0, 6-0; Denise Ledgerwood, KU, d. Kendall Hess, SM, 6-1, 6-4; Alejandra Cereceda, R, d. Kelly Hamlyn, GP, 6-0, 6-3; Melissa Witten, NM, d. Ellie Casey, KU, 6-2, 6-3; Michelle Bellamy, GP, d. Margaret Moore, SM, 6-3, 6-1.

SECOND ROUND ' Becky Correll, R, d. Hoyal, SM, 6-0, 6-0; Morris, A, d. Kelsey Thornton, NM, 6-4, 6-4; Lauren Sargent, A, d. Bartlett, R, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3; Dean, GP, d. Sonia Aguilera, NM, 6-3, 6-1; Kayla Moyse, A, d. Ledgerwood, KU, 6-0, 6-0; Cereceda, R, d. Valerie Iverson, NM, 6-0, 6-2; Lind, A, d. Witten, NM, 7-5, 6-3; Stacy Wetmore, R, d. Bellamy, GP, 6-4, 6-3.

QUARTERFINALS ' Correll, R, d. Morris, A, 6-0, 6-0; Sargent, A, d. Dean, GP, 6-3, 6-0; Moyse, A, d. Cereceda, R, 6-0, 6-0; Wetmore, R, d. Lind, A, 6-3, 6-1.

DOUBLES

FIRST ROUND

' Kai Rossman-Tina Warnick, GP, d. Chelsey Andrews-Hanah Watah, KU, 6-2, 6-1; Laurel Schultz-Kim Caddock, R, d. Kelli Murphy-Mandy Engler, SM, 6-0, 6-1; Jenna Johnson-Eli Drosdick, SM, d. Alysia Yamasaki-Dana Honzel, KU, 6-3, 7-5; Dawn Ackerman-Nichole Hicks, GP, d. Rachel Ryan-Janell Petersen, NM, 6-4, 6-4; Kelly Rulon-Emma Close, SM, d. Erin Mintun-Piyawan Taguchi, GP, 7-5, 6-3; Rachel Friers-Amanda Amstutz, A, d. Maxi Freudenberg-Laura Capehart, KU, 6-0, 6-0; Jennifer Pendergast-Heather Dumas, NM, d. Annie McConnell-Sarah Wells, SM, 6-0, 6-0; Lilee Chan-Jenny Lund, KU, d. Ashley Hurst-Rebecca Weicher, GP, 6-3, 6-3.

SECOND ROUND ' McKenzie Hilmer-Lauren Wilson, NM, d. Warnick-Rossman, GP, 6-0, 6-2; Sarah Cate-Samantha Holtey, A, d. Caddock-Schultz, 6-1, 6-2; Lynsee Gonzales-Sonu Allen, R, d. Johnson-Drosdick, 6-3, 6-1; Kate Morris-Chelsea Van Lehn, A, d. Ackerman-Hicks, 6-2, 6-4; Shannon Leever-Annie Chaney, NM, d. Close-Rulon, 6-1, 6-0; Valerie Janelli-Galaxie Slight, R, d. Friers-Amstutz, A, 6-1, 7-5; Dumas-Pendergast, NM, d. Amy Dorius-Emily Gawne, R, 6-1, 6-4; Jessica Baker-Justine Bowen-Jones, A, d. Chan-Lund, KU, 6-0, 6-0.

QUARTERFINALS ' Hilmer-Wilson, NM, d. Cate-Holtey, A, 6-1, 6-2; Van Lehn-Morris, A, d. Gonzales-Allen, R, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4); Leever-Chaney, NM, d. Slight-Janelli, R, 6-1, 6-0; Baker-Bowen-Jones, A, d. Dumas-Pendergast, NM, 6-2, 6-3.