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TJ tennis falls to EmRidge, out of South title chase
By CASEY OLSON
Everybody at Fridays South Puget Sound League South tennis match between Thomas Jefferson and Emerald Ridge knew the division championship was on the line.
And everyone knew the winner of the match between the 11-1 Raiders and 12-0 Jaguars would come down to who won the all-important No. 1 doubles point, which pitted TJs Corinna Fabre and Uyen Tran against Rachel Owens and Gillian Ball. But in the end, the Jaguars pair went on to win in straight sets to help Emerald Ridge clinch the SPSL South title with a 3-2 win over the Raiders.
Uyen and Corinna had a few opportunities, but it seemed like Rachel had an answer to everything we threw at her, said TJ coach Andrew Buchan.
Buchan shook up his lineup from the first time the two teams met in the regular season a 4-1 win by Emerald Ridge April 12. Fabre has played a bulk of this season as the Raiders No. 1 singles player and has racked up a 6-3 record, while Tran has a 7-2 record with Leisha Muraki in doubles play.
But Owens and Bell were just too much for the TJ pair winning 6-3, 6-4. Owens has lost only one match during her high school career and it came in last years Class 4A state doubles championship.
Alyssa Ferry and Kylie Marshall swept singles for Emerald Ridge and Jefferson took the other two doubles matches. Sarah Lee and Claudia Miernowski won at No. 2 in three sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, and Muraki and Darcy Idler won in straight sets at No. 3, 6-1, 6-2.
The SPSL Tournament will start Saturday with single-elimination rounds at Auburn and Auburn Riverside high schools. The tournament will continue Monday and Tuesday. The top-six finishers will move on to the West Central/Southwest District Tournament, starting May 25 at the University of Puget Sound and Bellarmine Prep.
The four teams who will represent the SPSL South in the postseason are set and the Todd Beamer Titans and the Thomas Jefferson Raiders are two of them. Beamer and TJ have clinched berths into Saturdays SPSL Tournament at Kent Memorial Park. But its still up in the air where both teams will be seeded.
Curtis sits atop the league with a 12-6 record and Beamer and TJ are both 11-6 with one game remaining in their regular seasons. Puyallup ended the regular season 11-7. Beamer was scheduled to play TJ yesterday (after press time and weather permitting).
The Titans seemed prime to clinch the SPSL South crown, but dropped two straight games late last week to Federal Way (17-0 in five innings Thursday) and to Emerald Ridge Friday afternoon, 6-2.
The Titan pitchers gave up five home runs Thursday to Federal Way hitters, including three to Eagle second baseman Mitchell Jump. The Federal Way offense exploded for 17 hits in five innings and Beamer committed an uncharacteristic five errors. Jump finished 4-for-4 with six RBIs, including a solo home run in the second inning, a two-run shot in the third and a two-run homer in the fourth. Thomas Montelongo and Matt Vlahovich also went deep. Beamer only mustered two hits off Federal Way sophomore Dustin Horsfall.
The Raiders split their two games late last week, pounding Rogers 13-3 Thursday and losing to an inspired Federal Way (9-9 in the South), 5-1, Friday. The season ended Monday for the five-time defending SPSL South champion Eagles with a fifth-place finish in the South.
The fourth-place team from the South will take on the fourth-place team from the North at 10 a.m. Saturday at the SPSL Tournament in a loser-out game. The two third placers will play at 1 p.m., the second-place teams will play at 4 p.m. and the SPSL championship will be decided at 7:30 p.m. Seven teams advance to the district tournament. All the games are at Kent Memorial.
Tomorrows All-City Track Meet at Federal Way Memorial Stadium is big for all four Federal Way high schools, but its just a little more important for the Thomas Jefferson girls.
The Raiders and coach Paul Ruston can clinch at least a tie for the SPSL South Division championship with a sweep of Beamer, Decatur and Federal Way. Jefferson is currently 5-0-1 in the South and tied with the two-time defending state champion Curtis Vikings for first place. The Raiders and Curtis opened the regular season March 24 with a 70.5-70.5 tie.
The TJ girls remained unbeaten Thursday with a 107-30 win over Emerald Ridge. The Raiders won all but two of the individual events and junior Hilorie Hildebrandt swept the 800- and 1600-meter races. TJ also got two wins from Brittany McKay in the long jump and triple jump and Molly Gebhardt in the 100 hurdles and pole vault.
The All-City Meet will kick off at 3 p.m.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, email@example.com