Ready to have a ball
Central's Keeling, Fruita doubles teams set for state tennis tourney
Hannah Keeling certainly made the most of her first year playing singles for Central High School.
As a senior, she waited three years for her chance to go solo, then went out and won a regional title at No. 3 singles.
“I was not expecting to win,” Keeling said with a laugh after her regional win last Friday.
Keeling and Fruita Monument’s Nos. 3 and 4 doubles teams will be the Western Slope representatives at the Class 5A state tennis tournament, which starts today in Denver.
Central head coach Kathy Elliott said it was exciting to see Keeling move from doubles to singles this season.
“She spent three of her four years playing doubles, and this is her first year playing singles,” she said. “She was really excited to go out and do it on her own.”
Keeling said her favorite part of her game is utilizing her hard first serve, and that big serve helped lead to her first-set victory in regionals. She ended up winning the finals 6-4, 7-5.
Elliott said Keeling’s first serve is good, and she has the knack of getting it in during crunch time, but the coach added Keeling’s main strength is her patience.
“If she’s patient, and her strength is her patience and waiting for the game to come to her, then she plays well,” Elliott said.
Keeping the rallies going and waiting for her opponent to make mistakes is what Keeling has done well this season, and Elliott said that will be the key today in Keeling’s first-round match against Liberty senior Carolina MacDonald.
“If she’s patient and plays her game, and lets the game come to her, she will have a chance against that Liberty girl,” Elliott said.
After her surprise win at regionals, Keeling said she’s a little nervous for state.
“To be honest I’m a little scared,” she said with a laugh. “We’ll see. Who knows? Anything can happen.”
Fruita Monument senior Katie Vidmar and freshman Tayvia Voytilla just kept getting better this season, and their improvement culminated in winning a regional title at No. 3 doubles.
Wildcats coach Clint Davis said the two have complementary abilities that make for a good doubles team.
“Tayvia gets to everything in the back, and Katie stands at the net and can just detonate anything that comes over,” Davis said.
Vidmar, who joined the team last year, uses her height to be an effective player at the net.
Vidmar and Voytilla won the regional final with a 6-4, 7-6 (10-8) victory. They will play Rocky Mountain’s Kyla Box, a senior, and junior Kathryn Walter in the first round.
For juniors Amy Espinoza and Alyssa Bohrer, their regional title at No. 4 doubles was a quick progression for a team that joined forces in early April.
The two said they gained a lot of confidence when they won a Denver tournament just before regionals.
Davis said it was the regional tournament when he saw them really come together as a team. Espinoza and Bohrer won the finals with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory.
Davis said winning the regional always helps at state because they go in as the higher seed. He likes their potential and chances to pick up a first-round win today.
“They’re both good tennis players, it’s just a factor of them jelling together,” he said.
Espinoza and Bohrer will play juniors Paula Malprichet and Hannah Rossing of Chaparral in the first round.
The tournament takes place at the Gates Tennis Center with first-round matches scheduled for this morning. All winners will advance to the quarterfinals.
■ In the Class 4A state tournament at Pueblo City Park, Montrose has two singles players and one doubles team in action today.
The Indians’ No. 1 singles player, Alyssa Arellano, will face Glenna Gee-Taylor of Centaurus in a first-round match, and Montrose No. 2 singles player Kellyn Alexander will open against Sarah Brown of Pueblo County.
The Indians’ No. 3 doubles team of Kailee Quinn and Meg Frantz plays a first-round match against Kate Minnihan and Meghan Donohoe of Centaurus.