Purchase Photo Reprint Weekly Herald/CHRIS GOODENOW
Mountlake Terrace’s Nicole Bouche (right) returns the ball in front of teammate Gillian Braden-Armstrong against Shorewood’s Francesca O’Malley and Daniella Brenglemann during the 3A District 1 doubles title match May 16 at Glacier Peak High School.
After losing a tough three-set match in the finals earlier in the day, the Hawks duo had just dropped the first set of a winner-to-state, loser-out match against Shorecrest's Haley Monson and Jamie Uppinghouse.
Fatigue was setting in as Bouche and Braden-Armstrong were still feeling the effects of their 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 loss to Shorewood's Francesca O'Malley and Daniella Brengelmann in the 3A District 1 girls tennis doubles championship match May 16 at Glacier Peak High School.
“Our bodies were really tired,” Bouche said. “We didn't really want to move our feet but we forced ourselves to. We kind of talked ourselves up to get ourselves moving.”
Once Bouche and Braden-Armstrong started moving, the momentum shifted and the Mountlake Terrace duo rallied for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory to earn the district's second and final berth to this week's state tournament.
For senior Braden-Armstrong, the victory means she will wrap up her high school career with her first appearance at the 3A tournament.
“It's exciting to finally go,” she said. “I've always been eliminated in sub-districts with other doubles partners. It's cool.”
Bouche wasn't necessarily expecting to advance to state as a freshman.
“I'm so excited,” she said. “It's great representing our school. This doesn't happen often. I'm amazed that we've gotten this far.”
The 3A state tournament is scheduled for May 25-26 at Kamiak High School and the Tri-City Court Club in Kennewick.
Bouche and Braden-Armstrong beat O'Malley and Brengelmann in the sub-district finals a week earlier but found themselves in a back-and-forth match in the district finals.
“It was really close,” Bouche said. “The momentum kept changing. It was pretty even. It was a good match. I don't have any regrets.”
Mountlake Terrace coach Alberto Ramirez said that the Hawks' nerves might have been the difference in the end.
“We had many opportunities in the second set and even in the third set,” Ramirez said. “Both teams played great. Both of them had a chance to get ahead and then they lost the lead. They played their hearts out, both teams.”
After losing the first set of the consolation match, Braden-Armstrong and Bouche were able to regroup.
“We just had to keep our feet moving and keep focused,” Braden-Armstrong said. “We decided to play our net game and just beat them to the net before they could get there because that was the strong part of their game.
“I really wanted to go to state. We pulled it together.”
The Hawks duo isn't making any predictions about the state tournament.
“We're not putting pressure on ourselves,” Bouche said. “We're just going to try our best and see what we can do, how far we can go.”
Added Braden-Armstrong: “We're going in pretty open-minded. We know we're up against tough competition like the past two weeks. But I think if we play our game and keep calming each other down, we can go far.”
Lynnwood's Monica Kwong went 2-2 at the 3A District 1 singles tournament. The freshman finished the year 18-6 overall. “The experiences she had this year of going to districts and having so much success at No. 1 singles will make her that much tougher the next three years,” Lynnwood coach Rob McMains said. “Being able to play against the top players in the league as a freshman, win or lose, will just help her feel more comfortable in those situations next year.” Lynnwood is moving up from 3A to 4A next year.