Playing smart allows Jessup to win title at Western Slope Invite

Charlotte Mooney focuses on her return during her 6-2, 6-0 loss to Chatfield’s Kelsey Brading on Saturday during the No. 1 singles championship at the Western Slope Invitational at Elliott Tennis Center.

Jenny Jessup quickly realized it was going to be a different type of match.

Facing Ralston Valley’s Kelsi Clemmer in the No. 2 singles championship Saturday at the Western Slope Invitational at the Elliott Tennis Center at Mesa State College, Jessup traded in a fast-paced game for a more cerebral one.

“I knew in warm-ups it was going to be a slower tempo,” the Grand Junction senior said.

“Patience was the key to the entire match.”

With long rallies, Jessup found ways to avoid mistakes that come with rushing points and her approach paid off with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Clemmer to win her first Western Slope Invitational title in her four years.

“I am really excited because I wasn’t expecting to win,” Jessup said. “It was a nice surprise and it gives me good confidence.”

After a fourth-place finish in last year’s tournament, Jessup won all four of her matches this weekend in straight sets.

“Jenny is just solid,” Tigers coach Carol Elliott said. “She has so many weapons and she is patient and smart and knows when to pick her spots.”

The Tigers finished third in the team race with 194 points. Chatfield took home the team title with 239 points, followed by Greeley West’s 211. Fruita Monument finished eighth with 149 and Central scored 51 points.

Jessup was one of four Tigers to make it into the championship round, but was the only one to win. No. 1 singles player Charlotte Mooney lost 6-2, 6-0 to Chatfield’s Kelsey Brading.

Mooney took a 2-1 lead in the first set before losing the next 11 games.

“Some part of me didn’t show up today and I don’t know what it is,” Mooney said. “I was really excited for the match, I was ready physically so I don’t know, but that’s tennis for you.”

Mooney cruised on the first day of the tournament ,winning all three matches in straight sets.

“(Friday) I played really well and I am frustrated I couldn’t carry that over,” Mooney said. “But it is the beginning of the season and I have a lot of room to grow.”

In the doubles matches, Grand Junction’s No. 2 team of Liz Heaps and Samantha Weinberg ran into a tough Greeley West duo of Isebeau Tallon and Carmen Whitehead and fell 6-2, 6-0 in the finals. Both Heaps and Weinberg are returning state qualifiers in doubles but this is their first year playing together.

“Last year both of us didn’t go this far, so it feels good,” Weinberg said. “We just wish we could have played better.”

The Tigers’ No. 3 doubles team of Emmie Madison and Alex Proietti also lost in the finals, losing 6-4, 6-2 to Kara McCary and Kelli Selden of Greeley West.

“Greeley West is a team that loves to get up to the net and so do we,” Elliott said. “They played a lot better up there than we did but we were able to play a lot of matches and that is what we wanted to do.”


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