Vikings net a sweep over La Grande
by BRAD MOSHER / The Observer
The Umatilla Lady Vikings needed a late tiebreaker to earn a 3-2 decision over La Grande Thursday at the Eastern Oregon University tennis courts.
La Grande had the advantage early in the contest when its top singles player and top doubles team grabbed wins.
The Lady Tigers needed one more win to claim the team victory, but it was the Vikings who won the rest of the matches.
Senior Kata Sebastian-Azaola stumbled early, losing her first set to Umatilla’s Susan Routson. But she rallied to win the final two sets and a 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory.
“She was tough,” La Grande tennis coach Mike Schireman said. “She figured out what she needed to do to win all by herself. She was really focused.”
In the top doubles match, it was Lauren Mills and Anna Grigsby taking a 6-4, 6-4 straight-set win over Umatilla’s Miranda Cranston and Annie Rubio.
But those were the only wins for the Lady Tigers.
When Alina Clemens lost in a tiebreaker to Holly Lougee of Umatilla, that gave the Vikings the narrow come-from-behind team win over the Lady Tigers. Lougee won the first set, then lost the second on her way to the crucial 6-1, 2-6, 7-6 (3) win for the Vikings.
According to Shireman, the La Grande squad is hampered by not having enough players. “We are one singles short in girls and basically two guys short — a doubles team,” he said. “Otherwise, the guys are definitely improving. But in this game, it just doesn’t happen quick.”
La Grande boys suffer sweep
The boys tennis team dropped a 5-0 decision to the 3A Vikings on the high school courts Thursday.
Martin Rubio of Umatilla beat La Grande’s top singles player Tanner Willson in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.
That was a pattern for most of the matches.
Christian Lemus knocked off Wyatt Schaht in the second singles, 6-0, 6-2. The Vikings also swept through the doubles matches — with one speed bump. Caleb Owens and Wyatt Schaht forced the Umatilla duo into a tiebreaker in the first set. But the Viking tandem of Ramiro Rubio and Edgar Magana came back to take a 7-6 (5), 6-0 win.
Ontario sweeps La Grande
Ontario handed the La Grande teams a 5-0 loss in the boys competition and a 3-2 loss in the girls Wednesday.
“Both girl’s number ones won,” Shireman said.
That has been the strong point for the Tigers, according to the coach. For the doubles team of Mills and Girgsby, that is almost expected. “They only have one loss so far and that was to Pendleton, a 5A school. Those were winnable matches. Hopefully, next time around, I feel they will definitely do better.”
According to Shireman, his first singles player is starting to get a clearer picture of her matches and the strategies needed to be used against her foes. “She’s starting to see the patterns. Its a great win for her (Thursday). She figured it out on her own how to beat that gal.”
One of Sebastian-Azaola’s strength’s is her mental toughness, the coach said. “She doesn’t get all upset she just plays right through and tries to figure things out. That is great — a perfect mindset for a tennis player.”