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Girls tennis: Ashley Evans, Morgan Meisenheimer lead Canby at TRL districts

by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Canby seniors Ashley Evans (right) and Morgan Meisenheimer chat as Cougars coach Caitlin Russell encourages Star Leos (left) and Kierra Maxwell during a break in the consolation semifinals at the Three Rivers League girls tennis tournament May 14 at Portland Tennis Center. Evans and Meisenheimer defeated their teammates 8-0 for the last win of their high school careers.PORTLAND — From outside the chain-link fence, Canby coach Caitlin Russell summoned sophomores Star Leos and Kierra Maxwell and implored them to challenge their senior opponents.

“I was telling them, ‘Hey, don’t let them have it — make them earn it,’” Russell said.

But those experienced seniors — Cougars doubles partners Ashley Evans and Morgan Meisenheimer — would not be denied.

Leos and Maxwell built up a 40-0 lead in what turned out to be the final stanza of an eight-game pro set, but Evans and Meisenheimer engineered four points in a row to cap their 8-0 victory in the consolation semifinals May 14 at Portland Tennis Center.

The entertaining intrasquad match highlighted Canby’s outing at the Three Rivers League girls tennis district championships, where Evans and Meisenheimer finished their careers as consolation finalists with a 6-1, 6-4 loss to Oregon City’s Lindsay Brawn and Cassidy White.

It was the end of a chapter of their close friendship, which began in sixth grade and which became an advantage as they played basketball, soccer and tennis together throughout high school.

“We’re really on the same page,” Evans said earlier this season. “We’re both really competitive, and we don’t like to lose. Even if one of us isn’t doing well, the other one picks us up.”

Added Meisenheimer: “We communicate really well — and we don’t even need to, usually.”

Evans and Meisenheimer, who will attend Willamette and Oregon State next year, respectively, were both major contributors in all three of their sports at CHS.

As juniors, they helped the girls soccer team advance past the second round of the state playoffs for the first time in program history.

“They both played in the midfield, and it was amazing how they could find each other without even thinking about it,” Cougars coach Ben Winegar said. “What was also cool to watch is how they would challenge and refocus each other. They were both very talented and improved each year they played.”

This past winter they led the Canby girls basketball team to its first playoff win since 2007, Evans as a sharpshooting guard and Meisenheimer as a versatile reserve whom coach Brooke Cates called the team’s sixth starter.

And after losing in the championship round of 16 at last year’s district tennis tournament, Evans and Meisenheimer made it to the second day this season as the Cougars’ top doubles team.

Despite their straight-sets loss to Lakeridge partners Rileigh Hamilton and Shea Northfield in the championship round of 32, they extended their careers in the secondary bracket.

The duo cruised to an 8-3 victory over West Linn seniors Julia Casad and Sara Chung to reach the consolation quarterfinals, and they breezed past Grant partners Adrianna Bryans and Emma Vaugn-Matthews in a dominant 8-1 decision.

Leos and Maxwell, meanwhile, started the first day of the tournament with a two-set loss at the hands of Clackamas partners Keira Burgeston and Edie Mei.

They earned the right to compete on the second day by edging Oregon City partners Megan Brawn and Thao Truong 8-6 in their first consolation match and upending West Linn partners Priya Basak and Emily Yazzolino 8-6 in an ensuing consolation quarterfinal.

Leos and Maxwell’s run came to an end against Evans and Meisenheimer, whose chemistry and experience were evident throughout.

Canby has not sent any players to the state championships since 2010, when it joined the loaded TRL, but it was represented by several other players at the district tournament.

Junior partners Jessica Saman and Kelsey Snoderly advanced to the doubles championship round of 16 with a win by forfeit. They took three games combined from second-seeded Lake Oswego partners Claire Murphy and Libby Dozois in a two-set loss, 6-1, 6-2.

Canby juniors Sarah Tro and Mindy Wilmes dropped their opening match against Grant partners Ellie Corser and Grace Johnson, 6-3, 6-1. The setback sent them into the consolation bracket, where they were eliminated following an 8-5 loss to West Linn freshmen Montgomery Todd and Kate Whitehall.

In singles, sophomore Kayla Davis led Canby with the squad’s only contested victory in the championship bracket — a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Oregon City junior Erika Zitzelberger.

The victory propelled Davis into the round of 16 against second-seeded West Linn senior Ella Riddle, who won in straight sets.

Three other players represented the Cougars in singles play at the district tournament.

Rachel Fox fell 6-1, 6-3 in her opening-round match against West Linn sophomore Sophia McFadden. The loss dropped the junior into the consolation bracket, where she came up on the short end of an 8-2 decision against West Linn freshman Rachel Vedder.

Jamie Robertson lost her opening match against Lakeridge junior Kristin Taylor, 6-3, 6-0. The sophomore was then knocked out of the tournament by Lake Oswego senior Ana Ritter, who prevailed 8-5 in the first consolation round.

Mimi Thoi was unable to advance in the championship bracket, falling 6-0, 6-1 at the hands of Oregon City junior Anne Gorsek. The sophomore was eliminated by West Linn junior Rebbecca Cruze in the consolation bracket, 8-0.

Riddle won the district singles title, defeating Lake Oswego sophomore Katie Day 6-3, 6-1.

***

AT A GLANCE

TRL girls tennis district championships

May 12-14 at Portland Tennis Center

SINGLES (1-7 overall, 1-4 in the championship bracket): Kayla Davis 1-1, Rachel Fox 0-2, Mimi Thoi 0-2, Jamie Robertson 0-2.

DOUBLES (6-7 overall, 1-4 in the championship bracket): Ashley Evans/Morgan Meisenheimer 3-2, Star Leos/Kierra Maxwell 2-2, Jessica Saman/Kelsey Snoderly 1-1, Sarah Tro/Mindy Wilmes 0-2.



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