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Wilson shines, but Panthers prevail

A first-time matchup and a much-anticipated rematch highlighted South Medford's showdown with rival North Medford in girls tennis at Fichtner-Mainwaring Park Saturday.

And all those participating in the Southern Oregon Conference affair lived up to the billing.

North Medford senior Lauren Wilson stayed unbeaten with a hotly contested, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory over South's Emily Works in No. — singles.

On the doubles side, the Panthers' top tandem of Samantha and Natalie Ruffe most likely laid claim to the No. — seed at the district tournament with their second victory of the season over the Black Tornado duo of Erica Schultz and Sarah Louie. The scores were 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.

South Medford again got the best of North with a 6-2team triumph to remain undefeated in SOC action at 6-0. The Black Tornado fell to 3-2-1.

We had some pretty good matches today, said Panther assistant coach Jeff Works. Our depth is one of our strengths.

— Also staying in the unbeaten column was South Medford's No. 2 singles competitor, Elora Grant. The junior upped her record to 6-0 with a 6-0, 7-5 win over Sarah Pendergast.

The Ruffe sisters also moved to 6-0 with their victory over Schultz and Louie, whose only two losses have come to the Panther duo.

Samantha Ruffe, a sophomore, and Natalie Ruffe, a freshman, hadn't lost a set in SOC play until Saturday.

We kind of lost focus for a while in the second set, said Samantha Ruffe. (North) played well. I just think we managed to turn it around and finish out strong.

Works and Wilson didn't meet in the first matchup between the teams, a 7-1 Panther victory, because Wilson had recently undergone a tonsillectomy.

Their matchup Saturday started one-sided, with Wilson completely in control of the first set.

From there, however, Works put up quite a fight.

The Panther sophomore battled to a 5-4 lead, then belted a forehand winner down the baseline to take the second set.

I tried to calm down and focus on my technique, said Works of her comeback. A lot of it had to do with gaining some confidence.

Works continued her streak into the third set by netting a 2-0 advantage.

Yet Wilson managed to regain her composure and rattled off five straight victories to push Works to the brink.

After Works closed the gap to 5-4, Wilson garnered a 40-15 advantage, then ended the match with a sharp backhand.

Emily hit some really good shots and gained some confidence, said Wilson, who moved to 6-0 in the SOC. She was on fire basically, so there wasn't much I could do about it.

Once I got down 2-0 in the third set, I took some time and tried to stay positive and just counter her shot.

Works, the younger sister of former South boys standout Ben Works, fell to 3-3 with the defeat. The other two losses came to Ashland singles standout Kayla Moyse.

I'm actually pretty pleased with the match, said Emily Works, who will most likely take the No. — seed into districts on May 11 and 13 in Roseburg. It was closer than normal when I've played her.

Wilson is in her first full season competing in singles. She teamed with McKenzie Hilmer the last three years to form one of the state's more formidable doubles tandems.

I enjoyed doubles, Wilson said. I always had a lot of fun playing it. But I've always been a better singles player.

Wilson will take on Moyse Tuesday in a match that could decide the top seed at district. Both are unbeaten.

I thought Emily played Lauren really well, said North Medford coach Dale Jensen. It didn't seem like Lauren, like her head was in the match early on.

I think it was great for her to have such a competitive match.

SINGLES ' Lauren Wilson, NM, d. Emily Works, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4; Elora Grant, SM, d. Sarah Pendergast, 6-0, 7-5; Chelsea Stone, SM, d. Alex Jenner, 6-1, 6-2; Amber Chambers, NM, d. Amanda Gerlick, 6-0, 6-4.

DOUBLES ' Samantha Ruffe-Natalie Ruffe, SM, d. Erica Schultz-Sarah Louie, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4; Aly Wilson-Nikita Wright, SM, d. Carissa Arnesen-Jacqueline Folger, 6-4, 6-1; Jordan Hess-Carli Sash, SM, d. Jennifer Dumas-Kenna Goodson, 6-4, 7-5; Megan Ellis-Jerae Nistler, SM, d. Tessa Forsyth-Allyson Marrs, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1.

Wilson shines, but Panthers prevail"kgoff@mailtribune.com.

North Medford?s Lauren Wilson hits a forehand return to South Medford?s Emily Works during Saturday?s match.