With wins over Tonasket last week, the Liberty Bell High School boys’ tennis team claimed first place in the CWB league with an undefeated record and an assured championship, and the girls’ team was poised to claim a tie for first place.
The girls’ and boy’s teams beat Tonasket by identical scores of 3-2, and in each case the outcome wasn’t certain until the last match.
For the boys, Nate Hirsch lost the No. 1 singles match, 1-6, 2-6; and Alex Whites lost the No. 2 match, 2-6, 0-6. Forest Rickabaugh salvaged the singles with a 6-3, 6-1 win.
That left it to the doubles teams, and they came through: Jesse Schulz and Isaac Blodgett won, 6-2, 6-1; and Tim Haley and Tyler White finished things up with a 6-1, 6-1 win.
Logan Butler started the girls off with a 6-0, 7-6 (tiebreaker) win in the No. 1 singles match. Karlee Wright followed with a 6-4, 6-4 win. In the third singles match, Tiva Ward lost, 4-6, 3-6.
Chloe Temple and Shelby Vintin lost their doubles match, 4-6, 4-6, which left it to Ruthann Matteson and Erin Frey to cinch the team win. It didn’t start well — the Lady Lions duo lost, 2-6 — but Frey and Matteson recovered for a 7-5 win in the second set, then finished strong with a 6-3 victory.
“They [the Liberty Bell teams] played very well against an extremely tough opponent that had beaten them before,” coach Dave Schulz said of the contest with Tonasket.
Liberty Bell hosted Pateros on Tuesday, the last match before post-season play begins Friday and Saturday in Omak. Games will be played at the Omak Tennis Club and the high school, Schulz said. The first round is single-elimination play, Schulz said.
Sixteen teams, including the all the A and B schools in the district, compete this weekend, Schulz said — and the A teams are very strong. Schulz said he wouldn’t be surprised to see 1A Okanogan win the state title.
“We have had great participation, great depth and great experience,” Schulz said of the Liberty Bell teams’ seasons. “The kids really worked hard and showed improvement.”