Overmatched Liberty falls to Interlake, 7-0

April 9, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

By Greg Farrar Jenny Adams, Liberty High School junior, volleys against Isabelle Long, of Interlake, during warmups for their April 3 match at Tibbetts Valley Park.

By Greg Farrar
Jenny Adams, Liberty High School junior, volleys against Isabelle Long, of Interlake, during warmups for their April 3 match at Tibbetts Valley Park.

When Liberty High School tennis player Jenny Adams is at the top of her game, she can easily defeat an opponent in 30 to 40 minutes, she estimated.

Her April 3 matchup against Interlake’s Isabelle Long took nearly two hours, though, and unfortunately for Adams, ended in defeat.

“I had a lot of good shots, and I felt like I was playing aggressive, especially throughout the first set,” she said. “It was a long match and I think kind of toward the end, I got a little tired.”

Adams won the first set, 6-2, before dropping the second set to Long. The two agreed to play a 10-point tiebreaker, since Long had to leave for a tutoring session and the match had already gone on for more than an hour.

“I just said, ‘OK, you can play a 10-point tiebreaker,’” Adams said. “I wasn’t going to force her to play a third set.”

Long went on to defeat Adams, 10-7, but despite the loss, Liberty’s No. 1 singles player was proud of her performance.

“I played against a really solid player and, overall, I had a lot of consistency,” she said. “I feel like it’s OK to lose once in a while as long as I’m continually getting better as a player.”

Liberty coach Mike Salokas echoed Adams’ sentiments, adding that his junior captain is an “exceptional talent.”

“It was a very close match,” he said. “Jenny played well, but Jenny has played well all season. The Interlake girl is a very strong player.”

As a team, Liberty was defeated, 7-0, by a strong Interlake squad.

In the other singles matches, Lina Larson bested Liberty co-captain Kristy Braunston, 6-1, 6-3; Grace Hsieh defeated the Patriots’ Sadie Demme, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4); and Interlake’s Shayna McDonald beat Noelle Rauschendorfer in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1.

In doubles, Melissa Long and Setareh Rock defeated Liberty’s No. 1 duo, Alia Jaegar and Ana Guzman, 6-2, 6-1; the Interlake team of Julia Liu and Vickie Zlatinova beat Hannah Ho and Yen Lee, 6-0, 6-0; and Karya Magham and Shreya Singh beat Liberty’s team of Isabelle Ashraf and Felicia Chiang, 6-0.

In recent years, Interlake has emerged as a power in the 3A/2A KingCo Conference, Salokas said.

“Seven years ago, Interlake was a 2A school and when they competed in our league, we competed well with them,” he said. “However, something’s happened in the last two or three years, with the boys and girls tennis teams, where they have found very, very good talent.”

Liberty, on the other hand, has struggled to find a sense of consistency, and construction at the school has not helped, Salokas said.

“Not being on campus and not having tennis courts has really hurt the Liberty tennis program,” he said. “The construction project has really set us back.”

Once construction is finished, Salokas said he has plans to hold clinics for elementary and middle school students to help drum up enthusiasm for Liberty tennis and get kids thinking about the sport early.

“I just can’t wait for our courts to be finished so we can rebuild the momentum and get young people involved,” he said. “That’s what’s going to help Liberty High School tennis more than anything.”

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