Olson leads Grizzlies to Class 4A state finals
By Charles Whisnand
Nevada Appeal Sports Editor
When a player is supposed to win ” but it’s also the set that’s going to decide the match ” many times the favorite crashes and burns.
Mica Olson wouldn’t let that happen and after struggling somewhat to a 3-2 lead, Olson went on to roll to a 6-2 win in singles for the Galena Grizzlies girls tennis team on Thursday in her final set in the third round.
The win was the clinching point for the Grizzlies as they went on to beat Green Valley 11-7 in the NIAA Class 4A State semifinals at Centennial Park. Galena advanced to face Bishop Gorman, a 14-4 winner over Reno High, at 9 a.m. today at Centennial Park for the state title.
“Sometimes those are the hardest matches to win,” said Galena coach Jim Eftimoff on the situation that Olson faced. “She stayed focused.”
Galena was in control throughout, but needed Olson’s win to finally put the match away. In the first round, Olson rolled to a 6-0 win and Hannah Llop won 6-1.
In the other singles match, one of the state’s best players, Green Valley’s Jessica Hsu won 6-2.
In doubles, Galena’s Alex Darling and Ellen Ferguson won 6-2. The two other doubles sets were close with Galena having a chance at a 5-1 lead. The Grlzzlies ended up coming away with a still important 4-2 lead after splitting the sets.
Galena’s Emily McClintock and Leann Roggensack led Sara Trigero and Kelsey Barto 5-4, but fell behind 5-6 before Galena saved a match point and McClintock went on to uncork her fourth service winner of the game to force a tiebreaker.
Down 0-4, Galena came back to within 3-4 on another service winner by McClintock before Trigero and Barto went on to win the tiebreaker 7-4. But Lindy Deller and Addie Potter beat Danielle Efarsen and Kayla Thomas 7-5 to give Galena a 4-2 lead.
In the second round, Haley Llop won 6-0, Hannah Llop won 6-1 and Hsu won for Green Valley 6-2. Galena had a chance to sweep the three doubles and virtually put the match away by taking a 9-3 lead.
Ferguson and Darling again won 6-2. Again Deller and Potter and Roggensack and McClintock were involved with matches that could have gone either way. Potter and Deller led 5-4, but Trigero and Barto came back to beat them 7-5.
But the difference of the match really came down to Roggensack and McClintock. The biggest point of the match came when Roggensack saved a match point with an overhead volley and Galena went on to force a 5-5 tie and went on to win in the tiebreaker 7-6 (7-5). They made things interesting, though, as up 6-2 they needed all four of their match points to finally pull out the win.
So instead of settling for a 7-5 lead, Galena had an 8-4 lead going into the final round. “We got one in a tiebreaker in the third round that was very important to us,” Eftimoff said.
In the final round, Haley Llop won 6-0 while Hsu had an impressive 6-1 win over Hannah Llop, the Northern 4A runner-up. After Olson’s clinching win, Deller and Potter won 6-3 for the final margin.
“We knew it was going to be hard fought,” Eftimoff said. “Our ladies played great tennis, every single one of them. We have a great senior group that’s really focused this year. They so much want to win for each other.”
Eftimoff said the team had three goals this year ” to make the state playoffs, to win a state playoff match and to win the state title.
“We still haven’t finished No. 3,” Eftimoff said.
In the boys semifinals, Coronado beat Reno 11-7 and Bonanza defeated Manogue 16-2. Coronado will play Bonanza at 9 a.m. today at Carson High.