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Tennis | Bainbridge girls enter new territory at state

Sophomore Kate Jameson partnered with Grace Porter to reach the SeaKing District finals. The team will begin state tournament play at 10:15 a.m. Friday. - Nat Levy
Sophomore Kate Jameson partnered with Grace Porter to reach the SeaKing District finals. The team will begin state tournament play at 10:15 a.m. Friday.
— image credit: Nat Levy

Despite two previous state tournament appearances, Bainbridge junior Grace Porter will enter her first match Friday morning as a newcomer.

Porter – who placed fourth last season – has moved from singles to doubles, pairing with Kate Jameson.

The team will begin state tournament play at 10:30 a.m. Friday against Enumclaw’s Julie Sanders and Breanna Pierce.

“It’s like a new experience, but I like it a lot more than going to state in singles,” said Porter, who was the only Spartan to compete at the 3A state tournament the last two years.

Porter and Jameson only practiced together for a few weeks before beginning post-season play. Jameson had partnered with Kelly Zwicker during regular-season play in the Spartans’ No. 1 girls doubles spot.

“Our first match at Metros was a mess,” said Jameson, a sophomore. “It was rough to put it lightly, but then we got going.”

The doubles team handily won the Metro League title, and things really began to click in the district tournament.

The duo defeated Mercer Island’s Chelsea Bailey and Julia Schubach in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3.

“We played really cleanly,” Jameson said.

They suffered their first loss in the finals to defending 3A state champions Anissa Bryant-Swift and Malia Lum of Sammamish in three sets.

“It was our first real challenge,” Porter said. “We know what to do next time.”

The only time Porter and Jameson would see the defending champions again would be in the state final.

The Spartans also have a difficult potential quarterfinal match-up against Union.

While Porter went undefeated in the No. 2 girls singles spot during Metro play, the junior has adjusted to playing doubles.

Like Porter, sucessful singles players have moved to doubles this season.

Mercer Island’s Bailey was the 2009 singles runner-up while Union’s Christina Le, who partners with Megan Carter, finished fifth in state last year.

“It’s weird because it really doesn’t mean anything,” Porter said. “Chelsea Bailey is an excellent singles player, but she just really wasn’t that strong in doubles. You can’t really tell until you really play.”

After practicing together every day for the last several weeks, Porter and Jameson’s strengths have grown to complement each other.

“Kate’s serve is a strength of ours,” Porter said. “Kate at the baseline and I’m at the net.”

By poaching the ball – intercepting service returns – Porter will become a presence at the net, coach Mike Anderson said.

“It’s really a neat change with Grace because it’s not just her going down there with all of the pressure just on herself,” Anderson said.

In the singles bracket, junior Sasha Carter will face Lisa Kromholtz of Peninsula at 8 a.m. Friday.

Carter, the Metro and SeaKing District champion, dropped just seven games during districts, and has recorded three straight victories over 3A defending state champion Natalie Allen.

Carter and Allen are on opposite sides of the draw, and could meet in the state final Saturday.

Carter could also have a rematch with Maria Jouravleva, whom Carter dispatched 6-3, 6-1 in the district semifinals, in the state semifinals.

While this will be Carter’s first 3A state tournament, she already won a 2A state singles title as a freshman.

“When she goes out there, she goes out there to battle,” Anderson said. “There aren’t a lot of girls out there with the tenacity that she has. I think that’s really key for her. She’s such a competitor.”

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