Panthers sink their teeth into league rivals

Tennis team wins seven in a row to tie for first place

Kassidy Baldwin had her biggest breakthrough on the tennis court for Washougal.

The WHS junior defeated Mark Morris’ Andrea Nelson in a three-set tiebreaker that lasted 3 hours and 4 minutes.

Baldwin said the match was stressful. She won the first set, 7-5, lost the second one, and was down 5-1 in the third set before rallying to a 7-6 (7-5) victory.

“After the final point, I just wanted to melt,” Baldwin said. “I was so happy.”

This victory helped the Panthers beat the Monarchs 5-1 for the second day in a row.

On Monday, Washougal outlasted Columbia River 4-2 to earn its seventh consecutive victory and tie for first place in league.

Head coach Angie Watts said she isn’t sure if the Panthers will share the league title with Columbia River or win it outright on sets. One thing she never questions is the heart of this team.

“These girls have such natural ability,” Watts said. “To see them become tennis players who have the consistency and mentality to never give up is more than I could have ever asked for as a coach.

“All these girls are working hard and they want it,” she added. “They deserve this title.”

After Rebecca Boylan and Beyonce Bea, Rylee Erdwins and Emily Johnson and Paige Wilson and Ally Steigmann won their doubles matches against Columbia River, Watts said the team victory rested on the shoulders of senior Ashley Williams. She won 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

“She came out with fire,” Watts said. “She didn’t want to lose her last home match.”

Baldwin has made the transition from a doubles to a single’s player this season.

“The biggest challenge was being out there alone,” she said. “You’re the only one. Short, long, cross. It’s a lot of running.”

Bea and Boylan play tennis, basketball and volleyball together.

“I think we’re just a really athletic team,” Bea said.

“Most of us play two or three sports,” Boylan added. “And we just have that passion and motivation.”