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Girls tennis competes in Libby, tourney cut short by spring storm

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Whitefish Pilot | April 27, 2022 1:00 AM

As a storm threatened for most of the afternoon, the Whitefish girls tennis team was able to get in a good number of matches before the unpredictable spring weather called off the Libby Invitational midway through matches on Saturday.

Scores were incomplete due to the tournament being canceled before all matches were finished.

“We got pretty lucky in Libby really, there were showers swirling all around us and we were able to keep playing until 7:30 at night,” Whitefish girls tennis coach Patrick Dryden recalled.

Despite the unfortunate ending to the tournament, Dryden says the girls were competing well. He was looking forward to seeing some highly competitive matches with opponents from seven different schools but those matches didn’t happen after the storm eventually blew in.

“It was a little disappointing because we had some really good matchups on the horizon that we never got to play,” he said.

On the doubles side, the Whitefish teams each won two matches apiece but those opponents didn’t push the competitiveness. The coach says he will continue switching up the combinations this week and by the first of May, the doubles combinations will be decided.

For singles, Anyah Cripe and Alivia Lusko played in the No.1 and 2 bracket for the Bulldogs. Both were competitive and Dryden was impressed with Cripe’s newfound aggressive play.

“I was really impressed with Anyah Cripe, I thought she took a big step forward,” he said. “She was hitting the ball with more pace and I like seeing her attacking more.”

In the No. 3 and 4 singles bracket, Whitefish went 5-1. Sophie Olson and Lauren Solem played in that bracket and both made it to the semifinal round through consistent play. The tournament was called off just before the semifinals.

Coming up this week the Whitefish team has a busy schedule. The girls will play Flathead at FVCC on Thursday, then travel to Hamilton and Corvallis on Friday for a double dual match. The team will finish up the week at the Bitterroot Invitational on Saturday, where the Whitefish athletes will face several opponents from the Southwest A.

“Coach Schwaderer (Bulldog boys tennis coach) and I have always felt the Bitterroot Invitational is a crucial week, a turning point in the season,” Dryden said. “In the past, we’ve seen kids make huge strides. I’m hoping that the weather holds out and we can get a lot of court time.”

Whitefish will next be on the court on Thursday at FVCC playing Flathead High School. Start time is 1 p.m.