Manzanares’ 3-set win highlights GJ’s dual loss to Fruita

Grand Junction’s Isabel Manzanares returns a shot Thursday during her 6-7 (7-4), 6-4, 10-7 victory over Fruita Monument’s Tayvia Voytilla at No. 2 singles.

It was a back-and-forth battle as unpredictable as the spring breeze.

Grand Junction junior Isabel Manzanares and Fruita Monument senior Tayvia Voytilla locked up in an epic tennis match on Thursday, with neither player blinking for two tough sets at
No. 2 singles.

Manzanares rallied from a 6-5 deficit in the pro-style third set to win the match 10-7.

“It was really stressful, it’s really difficult to play someone you know, and I’ve played Tayvia many times and this is the best match we’ve ever had,” Manzanares said.

Then she laughed. “It was really nice to win. You get nervous and you’re tired, you’re just trying to keep your confidence.”

The match was close throughout with Voytilla pulling out the first set, 7-6 — 7-4 in the tiebreaker.

That’s when the games started going really long with both players using good ground strokes and serving.

Using a good first serve, Manzanares took the lead at 4-3, then claimed the set at 6-4.

Both players qualified for the Class 5A state tournament last year — Voytilla at No. 2 singles and Manzanares at No. 3 singles.

The jump to No. 2 singles has been an adjustment, Manzanares said.

“It’s a little bit harder, different types of players, who are harder to play,” she said. “You have to play everyone different, you can’t play the same way against everyone.”

The long-match win at Canyon View Park was another step in a confidence-building mission for the Grand Junction junior after her move to No. 2 singles.

“My mental toughness has been a lot better this year, I’m a lot more confident,” she said.

She also said her serve has improved from last year, and it was one of her strengths in Thursday’s match.

For Voytilla, the match was another chapter in a frustrating start to the season.

She took off several months and didn’t even touch a racket because of painful tendinitis in her right wrist until this spring. She said she’s been back for about two weeks now.

“It’s really, really difficult,” she said. “I just feel like I can’t dictate where my shots are going right now. You just have to build it back up. I know what I can do, so it’s hard and I’m just doing the best I can at this point and practicing,”

She played well despite the time away from the game and said the long, close match was good.

“It’s good, any tennis at this point is good,” she said. “Isabel is a great player and we’ve fought many, many times, so playing her was good.”

Fruita Monument won the dual 5-2, keyed by a victory at No. 1 singles by junior Sarah Fleming.

It’s not surprising that the two-time state qualifier won the match, but it’s a little surprising that Grand Junction freshman Julianna Campos took the match to a third-set tiebreaker.

Fleming won the first set 6-1 but Campos rallied for a strong 6-2 win in the second. Fleming took the decider 10-6.

Grand Junction sophomore Kamryn Peltier, who moved into No. 3 singles this week, pulled out a 6-1, 6-2 win over Alexa Jo Willms.

The Wildcats swept the doubles but both No 1 and 2 doubles went to third-set tiebreakers.

Amber Skillicorn/Mia Maynard beat Elise Larsen/Bree Call, 6-2, 5-7, 10-5 at No. 1 doubles. Sofia Treider/Katie Woods rallied from one set down to defeat Lauren Lewis/Emily Starritt, 4-6, 6-1, 10-5.


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