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TENNIS: Placer ends Sierra’s surprising run in D-IV semifinal
Bulletin sports fall 2021
Jaden Alton plays the short shot at the net as Sierra No. 2 doubles partner Grace Langenfeld looks on. - photo by SEAN KAHLER

Tears were shed after Sierra lost its Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV semifinal 7-2 to visiting Placer on Wednesday, but it wasn’t because the Timberwolves were lamenting a heartbreaking defeat.

They have reasons to be proud of their 13-4 season in which they finished as runners-up to Central Catholic in the Valley Oak League. Although they’re the defending champions of the tournament, the T-wolves lost all but two of their players from that 2019 title team and underwent an early-season coaching change.

“This team has been working so hard,” No. 1 singles player Caitlin Morrow said. The senior is one of just two holdovers from the Section championship team. “We all came in from the COVID season and didn’t really have as much practice as usual, but we were still able to build up to this level. I’m really proud of everybody.”

Placer, the No. 3 seed, is vying for its 14th girls crown in the SJS next Monday when it takes on No. 1 Mountain House. The Hillmen of Auburn also own 10 coed banners, all garnered during a dominant 12-year stretch from 2007-2018.

“I have to hand it to them, they’re good,” Morrow said of Placer. “We came in expecting a good match and they gave it to us. They just got the better of us.”

Morrow dropped a competitive 5-7, 1-6 match to Michelle Schwarzenberg. No. 2 Victoria Zellner lost to Nora Tanovic 1-6, 1-6. Zellner was also a member of Sierra’s 2019 squad.

Placer took a 4-0 overall lead within the first hour of the match. The Hillmen also locked up the No. 4 and 5 singles matches in that time — Ava Doak beat Sierra’s Brisa Gonzalez 6-1, 6-2, while Rachel Edwards downed Sidney Pham, 6-0, 6-1.

Sierra did not bow out easily, however. Maryn Petersen prevailed at No. 6 singles 5-7, 6-2, 6-0 against Gia Meyers. The No. 2 doubles team of Jaden Alton and Grace Langenfeld followed with a 6-0, 7-5 sweep of Audrey Lund and Jessie Davidson.

Petersen, a sophomore, had a solid postseason debut, winning both of her matches this week.

“For me, personally, I really wanted to win,” she said. “I’m not very competitive but I felt like I really needed to win. I had a really good season and I thought I might as well end it off on a high note.”

Macy Maddox ended the drama for Placer. She got the clinching fifth point by holding off Tanya Sharma 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3 singles.

The final two matches were also decided in third sets. Sierra’s top doubles duo of Amber Garza and Simran Dosanjh came up short against Sadie Silberman and Giulianna Jorgensen, 0-6, 6-3, 4-6. No. 3 doubles partners Navleen Dosanjh and Alessia Manetti were edged out 6-2, 5-7, 5-10 by Alexis Bulger and Ashlyn Doremos.