The Liberty Bell High School tennis season came to an end last week as no Mountain Lion girls or boys players advanced past the 1B/2B/1A regionals.
Senior Ruthann Matteson, who qualified for the state tournament last year, finished fourth in girls’ singles play at the regionals, with only the top three advancing to state. She will be an alternate if one of the top three finishers can’t compete.
Senior Nicholas Fitzmaurice, in his first year of playing tennis, finished out of the running for a state birth in boys’ singles play, as did the boys’ doubles team of Isaac Blodgett and Tyler White.
Matteson lost a hard-fought first-round match to a competitor from Cascade, 6-7 (tiebreaker), 6-0, 6-7 (tiebreaker), then recovered for a win in the losers’ bracket, 6-1, 6-1 over Lake Roosevelt. Playing for a spot at state, Matteson lost her final match, 4-6, 3-6.
Fitzmaurice lost to a Chelan player, 2-6, 6-7 (tiebreaker) but played impressively for his first year of competition at this level, Liberty Bell coach Dave Schulz said. Fitzmaurice survived with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Cascade in the losers’ bracket, then fell to another Chelan player, 4-6, 2-6. Playing for an alternate slot, he lost a pro set match to an Oroville opponent, 4-8.
Blodgett and White lost to Omak, 0-6, 5-7 in the opening round. In the losers’ bracket, the Liberty Bell doubles team advanced after Cascade forfeited. Playing for a trip to state, Blodgett and White lost to Pateros, 3-6, 3-6.
Schulz said the team loses 10 seniors to graduation and he expects a rebuilding process for the tennis program next year. He said the team’s post-season event, where team awards will be announced, will be a barbecue on May 28 at Mack Lloyd Park in Winthrop, starting at 6 p.m.