GJ turns tables, edges Central
It was close, just like the first meeting between the Grand Junction and Central high school girls tennis teams.
But this time, Grand Junction earned a 5-2 victory Tuesday over the Warriors at Canyon View Park.
Central won the first meeting by the same score by winning No. 3 singles and sweeping the four doubles matches. This time, the Tigers won three of the doubles matches.
Carolena Campos and Morgen Mantlo won their No. 1 and No. 2 singles matches in straight sets for the Tigers.
“We wanted to come out strong because we don’t like losing,” Campos said about winning the second dual against Central. “This one matters more because it will help us get better seedings for regionals.”
In the April 3 dual, three of the four doubles matches went to a third set. On Tuesday, two of the four did.
Grand Junction’s Mariah Prinster and Jessi Smith beat Charis Nordstrom and Jade Poeppel at No. 2 doubles, 6-3, 3-6 and 10-6 in the third-set tiebreaker.
In the first meeting, Central won the third set 10-7, so both matches were tight.
“There was definitely a lot of pressure, and it was intimidating,” Smith said of the close match. “But you just have to go out there and do your best.”
“It was intense, really, really intense,” Prinster said with a smile. “It was really exciting, and there was never a down moment.”
Central’s Ellie Driscoll and Leandra Medrano rallied from a first-set loss to beat Jordin Early and McKenna Brooks 3-6, 6-3 (12-10) at No. 1 doubles.
Hannah Keeling earned the win at No. 3 singles for the Warriors, beating Sarah Mergan Erb 6-1, 7-5. The Central senior said the Warriors knew facing the Tigers a second time would be a battle.
“We knew they were going to come out stronger than last time, and it was so close last time,” she said. “And it was just about as close this time, but it ended up in their favor.”
Beating Fruita Monument and Grand Junction in duals earlier in the season has made this a special season for Warriors.
“It’s awesome, it’s so cool,” Keeling said. “This is the first year I can remember that we have a fighting chance against Grand Junction and Fruita. It’s nice that we’re now a threat.”
Grand Junction got straight-set wins in the other two doubles matches, with Anjana Thapa and Kristen Balke winning 6-3, 7-5 at No. 3 and Joslin Berg and Sara Perez winning 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4.