Aspen struggles against Steamboat |

Aspen struggles against Steamboat

Mark Fox/The Aspen Times

Steamboat Springs is one of the favorites to win the 4A regional tennis title in Grand Junction this week. Aspen’s varsity girls team found that out the hard way Saturday at the Maroon Creek Club.

The Skiers lost two of three singles matches and two of four doubles matches against the Sailors, who forfeited two matches because of absent players.

The Skiers top two singles players, juniors Demetra Kayne and Robin Landis, both lost in straight sets, as did Aspen’s No. 1 doubles tandem of juniors Julianne Davis and Haylen Gregory.

The lone victory for the Skiers that didn’t come by default came from the No. 3 doubles tandem of seniors Kaitlin Leibowitz and Kelly Bogaert. Leibowitz and Bogaert edged Kerry Enochs and Katie Birch in a super tiebreaker, 10-8, after winning the first set, 6-0, then losing the second, 4-6.

“It was a war,” Leibowitz said. “We kind of specialize in tiebreakers. That’s where we get really serious and hunker down.”

“Every tiebreaker that we’ve had we’ve won,” Bogaert said. “It’s kind of disconcerting to win the first set 6-0 because then we just had this idea of let’s get it over with. We didn’t play as well in the second set. In the tiebreaker, we just said this is our last senior match and we just have to get it done.”

Against Steamboat’s No. 1 singles player Brianne Murray, Kayne struggled to return her opponent’s overpowering serves.

“Her serve was enormous,” Kayne said. “I seriously stood like six feet back from the baseline. It was insane.”

Despite the lopsided loss, the junior was upbeat about the upcoming regional tournament in Grand Junction on Thursday and Friday. Most of the matches will be played on the hard courts at Mesa State College.

“I feel like I’m going to do OK,” Bogaert said. “I’m a lot happier on hard courts, because it’s easier to move. It’s going to be tough, but I think I can pull through.”

Aspen head coach Scott Dorais said Saturday’s dual was a great test for his young team. The only two varsity players who will graduate this year are Leibowitz and Bogaert; the rest of the team is made up of five juniors, one sophomore and three freshmen.

“It was great practice for our girls,” Dorais said. “I think our No. 1 and 2 singles players have had a real successful year in easier matches. Playing these bigger hitters today is going to help them. It’s too bad we didn’t have more of these.”

Landis lost to the Sailors’ No. 2 singles player Lisa Floyd, 6-1, 6-0. Freshmen Jordan Meyer earned Aspen’s first default win at No. 3 singles because Steamboat Springs’ third singles player was on vacation.

Davis and Gregory lost to the Sailors’ No. 1 doubles tandem of Molly Weiss and Kristin Toy, 6-0, 6-2.

Aspen’s No. 2 doubles tandem Elissa Walter and Alayne Kane earned the second default win.

“Hopefully, we’ll see this team again in Grand Junction,” Dorais said. “We’ll have to win a couple matches to see Steamboat, because most of their girls will probably finish first or second.”

Dorais also didn’t rule out the possibity of some of his players finishing among the top two at regionals to earn a trip to the state tournament in Pueblo the following week.

“Our final destination is Pueblo,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is

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