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Regionals a glimpse of future for Skiers

Jon Maletz
Aspen No. 4 doubles teammates Annie Buettow, left, and Hana Maclean prepare for a match Friday at the 4A regionals in Grand Junction. (Courtesy Elissa Walter)
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Aspen head tennis coach Scott Dorais watched Jordan Meyer improve her game and build confidence with each match this season.

The freshman, competing No. 3 in singles, almost saved her best performance for last. Meyer battled her way into the regional finals last weekend in Grand Junction, only to have her hopes for a state berth abruptly dashed. She dropped her next two matches and wound up third ” only the top two advance. The Skiers finished sixth out of 11.

“I don’t think she realized what a great opportunity that was,” Dorais said Monday. “For her to finish that high, I’m pleased. She’ll get there next year.”

Meyer impressed early, finishing off her first opponent, then outlasting the second in a three-set match, Dorais said. She advanced to the final to take on Steamboat Springs freshman Shelby Reed.

Aspen and Steamboat played a dual meet on April 29, but Reed did not compete, Dorais said. As a result, neither Meyer nor Dorais had any idea what to expect.

The two had their answer shortly into the match. Reed pulled away, taking the regional title with a 6-0, 6-0 win. She wasn’t the only Sailor to excel; Steamboat took the overall team title. Montrose finished second.

“Boy, across the board they are the best team in the region by far,” Dorais said. “Steamboat had someone in every final, but three doubles.”

Meyer had one more chance to earn a state bid in a match against the winner of a playback tournament consisting of all the teams that lost to Steamboat. She fell to Montezuma-Cortez senior Callie Carver, 6-3, 6-4.

She was not the only Aspen athlete who finished one spot out of state contention. The No. 4 doubles team of sophomore Annie Buettow and freshman Hana Maclean also took third.

“It was so close,” Dorais said. “To finish in the top two out of 11 is pretty tough. You have to have a good run of three or four wins all at the right time.

“It was a good result, considering most of these girls were in middle school or playing JV last year.”

Demetra Kayne struggled against a tough No. 1 singles field. She won the first round but dropped the following match to a player from Montrose.

Fellow junior Robin Landis, Aspen’s No. 2 singles, fared no better, losing a hard-fought three-set quarterfinal match to a Hotchkiss player. After dropping the first set, 7-5, Landis battled back to square the match with a 6-3 win. Her opponent broke her serve down the stretch, and Landis dropped the deciding set, 7-5.

“Being in those top two spots is tough. Most of the kids who are one and two singles play year-round,” Dorais said. “Both our girls improved throughout the year and were over .500 for the season, which was great. They’ll both be back next year.”

While the regional results were mixed, Dorais is looking forward to 2007. He loses only the No. 3 doubles duo of Kelly Bogaert and Kaitlin Leibowitz. The pair, which had prior school commitments, did not compete at regionals, Dorais said.

With experience will come success, Dorais said. Such is a favorable prospect for a young team that was competitive throughout 2006. The Skiers finished 4-6 ” three of their losses were by one match.

With players like Meyer continuing to make strides in their development, the future of the program is bright.

“The kids have been working hard and having fun,” Dorais said. “That’s going to translate into more W’s.”

Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is jmaletz@aspentimes.com


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