Tennis | Bainbridge girls advance to state; Carter wins district title

Sasha Carter defeated Holy Names
Sasha Carter defeated Holy Names' Natalie Allen 6-1, 6-1 for the SeaKing District title Wednesday.
— image credit: Nat Levy

The top Bainbridge girls singles and doubles players clinched berths in the state tournament at the district tournament this week, but they got there in very different ways.

Sasha Carter, the Metro's top singles player, rolled through the competition, defeating defending 3A state champion Natalie Allen 6-1, 6-1 to capture the title and the top SeaKing District seed at the state tournament in Vancouver May 27-28.

The doubles team, Grace Porter and Kate Jameson, lost to Anissa Bryant-Swift and Malia Lum of Sammamish, the defending state doubles champions, in a back-and-forth match that culminated in a three-set win for Sammamish.

Jameson and Porter clinched their spot in state with a win earlier that day.

The match gave the Spartan girls an idea of the kind of competition they will face in their attempt to take home the state title. Porter said the team needs to jump on the competition early.

"We just have to take control of it before they do," she said.

Bainbridge often played from behind in the match. The Spartans lost the first set 6-4, before rebounding to take the second set. In the third and final set, Bainbridge broke Sammamish's serve to take a 1-0 lead. But as the sunshine faded Wednesday, so did Bainbridge's advantage. The defending champs took the next four games, and it looked all but over.

Behind some inspired net play, Bainbridge managed to break Sammamish again to make it 4-2. After Bainbridge held serve, Sammamish began to look tired. Lum and Bryant-Swift started to lose their aggressiveness, but every time Bainbridge made a run, the champs answered. Bainbridge got it to 4-3 and later 5-4, but strong serving games secured the match for Sammamish.

The Bainbridge players were able to play Sammamish even despite digging a big hole in the final set. Should they meet again, the girls know that a quick start could lead to a more favorable result.

"We have to start off stronger at the beginning of the sets rather than in the middle," Porter said.

Earlier in the day, Carter used her powerful forehand to defeat Allen, a familiar foe.

"She's beat me, I've beat her," Carter said. "It can go either way depending on who plays better on a given day."

Carter's win clinched her first district title in her first year at Bainbridge. Carter said she's proud to make it to state, but being able to share that with her teammates makes the win that much sweeter.

"It's only better if you have team members there with you," she said.

On this day, Carter had the edge from the beginning, dictating the pace of the game with strong, but controlled shots that sent Allen all over the court.

Carter said she's played against Allen five times in the last few months and each time is different. The final time this year may come if the two meet in the state finals.

"You get to know their style, but they also get to know your style, and they come back and don't make the same mistakes as last time," Carter said. "You have to start fresh every time."

Bainbridge boys fall in districts

Bainbridge was eliminated from district competition Wednesday. Jacob Christiansen lost in the first round 6-4, 6-0 to Dragos Puscsiau of Sammamish.

Scott Alderson won his first-round match over Bellevue's Gabe Monfried 6-4, 6-4, but dropped his next two matches.

The doubles team of Dylan Skeffington and Nate Parker also made it to the consolation quarterfinal after winning their first contest 6-2, 6-1 and losing the next two.

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