Skyline cruises to win over Eastlake

April 23, 2013

By Lillian O'Rorke

After having two of its singles matches decided in tie-breaking sets, the Skyline High School tennis team beat Eastlake 6-1 April 16.

“Skyline’s our rival. Obviously, we want to win, and when we can’t win, we want to put up a good match,” said the Eastlake Wolves’ coach Bud Peterson. “They are a good team. We had our hands full from the get-go.”

Thanks to inclement weather, including hail earlier that day, the match almost didn’t happen. Giving the court extra time to dry out, the two neighboring teams got started about 30 minutes late. Once they did, though, many of the girls found themselves face-to-face with very familiar opponents.

Skyline High School’s Shreenu Sivakumar returns a shot during her No. 2 singles match April 16 against Eastlake’s Michelle Knutson.  By Lillian O’Rorke

Skyline High School’s Shreenu Sivakumar returns a shot during her No. 2 singles match April 16 against Eastlake’s Michelle Knutson.
By Lillian O’Rorke

“It’s like this in most sports up here on the plateau,” Peterson explained. “Some years you’ve got friends, who have grown up and who know each other, and they have fun playing together. And other years, it can be hyper-competitive, and there can be some mud slinging. But, this is not one of those years. It was a fun match.”

The No. 1 singles players, Eastlake’s Katie Park and Skyline’s Julia Lioubarski, play together every Saturday and have done so for years. Just like their rallies, the score went back and forth. Lioubarski won the first set 6-4; Park took the second 3-6.

Deep into the third set, Park was leading 5-1 and only needed to win one more game to take the match for Eastlake, but just as Park would get the advantage, Lioubarski would win the next point. Reaching deuce after deuce, the game crept on. A rally of 18 was eventually won by Lioubarski when she smashed the ball deep to the left corner, just out of her opponent’s reach. Park won the last rally, finally winning the game and the match.

Afterward, Park said she couldn’t even remember how many deuces they had.

“It was a fun match to play,” Park said, explaining that it was the first time the two played each other in a match that counted. “We are really good friends. And, she played really well, and she’s only a freshman right now. So, it was fun to play her, and she is going to do really well.”

After the match, Park and Lioubarski took to the court again, but this time so Park’s father could take pictures of them. The next court over, Lioubarski’s little brother and Park’s younger sister started a game of their own.

Another friendly pairing was the No. 2 singles bout, in which Skyline sophomore Shreenu Sivakumar beat Eastlake sophomore Michelle Knutson, 6-1, 6-2.

“We’ve been playing together for a really long time,” Sivakumar said, explaining that she and Knutson play year round for the Pine Lake Tennis Club. “I knew her strengths and weaknesses, and I knew she played just like me. Like, we both hit the same, so it was just like playing against myself. I knew where to hit.”

The No. 4 singles match also went into a tie-breaking third set, where Skyline’s Sherry Huang eventually defeated Wendie Yeung, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 10-6. Huang’s teammate, Jasmine Ye, also claimed victory in her No. 3 singles match by beating Eastlake freshman Nicole Yen, 6-3, 7-5.

“It was a very good match. Jasmine is usually our really good competitor, and she really had a tough opponent,” said Bettina Gehle, coach of the Skyline Spartans. “She is just very tough and I think she is a very, very good player, and she is an important team player for us.”

The Spartans also won all three doubles matches. Sonya Yee and Jinney Choi beat Eastlake’s No. 1 doubles team, Lilia Rodriquez and Neha Singh, 6-0, 6-2. In the No. 2 doubles competition, Jessica Journeycare and Rianna Eduljee defeated Nicole Knutson and Ashwathy Goutham, 7-5, 6-1. Playing No. 3 doubles, Kourtney Kirton and Abby Sampson beat Paulina Montiel and Shabina Rayan, 6-1, 6-4.

“We knew that they can be tough,” Gehle said, commending all her players for their good focus that afternoon. “This whole thing is a very good win for us.”

up next
Skyline vs. Garfield

  • At Skyline
  • 3:45 p.m. April 24
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