By: John Raffel
Portland’s impressive tennis season ends in state finals
By John Raffel
Crystal Lowe’s first season as coach for Portland’s girls tennis team was a very impressive one.
The facts speak for themselves.
In the CAAC White Conference, Portland was 5-0 and 10-1-1 in nonleague matches. Portland had seven of the eight flight champions at the league tournament and all of the flight champs at regionals to qualify for the state meet. The No. 3 doubles team was state runners-up and tied for eight at the state tournament.
The No. 1 doubles team of Riley Helene and Rachel Ivanhoe was in the second year of playing top doubles together.
“They ended their season with a tough match against an undefeated North Muskegon team who had beaten us earlier in the season,” Lowe said. “They played a great quarter-finals match against North Muskegon and went three long sets. If only a few points had gone slightly different, it’s possible we would have advanced to the semi-finals. They had a season record of 24-5.”
Alyssa Jack as a freshman and first-year varsity had an “exceptional season,” according to her coach.
“Going into the state tournament, she had one loss,” Lowe said. “She played a close quarterfinal match against Sacred Heart to give her her second loss of the season, ending with a 26-2 record.”
The No. 3 doubles team of Noelle Matte son and Julia Savage was seeded No. 3 in its flight at the state tournament as the highest seeded flight of the team.
“They pushed through a tough semi-final match against Jackson Lumen Christi, who had beaten us earlier in the season,” Lowe said. “Noelle and Julia did not give up throughout that match, going three sets, and securing their spot in the finals. They faced a very aggressive Sacred Heart doubles team in their final match who ended up as state Champions. Our No. 3 doubles state runners-up ended their season with a record of 20-3.”
Portland should be strong against next year despite having key graduates like Riley Helene, Rachel Ivanhoe, Samantha Weber and Emily Billow.
Key returners are Kayla Weller, Ainsley Allude, Taylor Jinks, Alyssa Jack, Maura Lufkin, Noelle Matte son, Julia Savage and Corey Smith.
“With eight returning players, I believe the team will be very competitive to repeat their league and regional titles,” Lowe said. “These players are determined to maintain the high expectations set on them, not only by me, but by each other as well. They will work hard in the off season to insure we return well-prepared.”