By David Pan Enterprise sports editor
The pressure was off for Edmonds-Woodway’s Amanda Waldron and Michelle Nelson.
After rallying to win their semifinal match, the Warriors duo saw some familiar faces across the net in the Western Conference 4A South Division doubles finals.
Waldron and Nelson took on teammates Sophie Roben and Sarah Fine and emerged with a 6-2, 7-5 victory in the May 13 match at Jackson High School.
“That was really fun,” Waldron said. “There was no pressure at all. We could work on stuff and we actually got to see how good Sophie and Sarah have gotten as a doubles team.
“I wouldn’t have preferred to play anyone else except them in the finals.”
Nelson saw a doubles team that was more consistent and more confident than they were during the 2009 district tournament.
“This year they knew what to expect,” Nelson said. “They weren’t as nervous, so they did better.”
The same can be said of Nelson and Waldron, who are looking to win their third straight 4A District 1 doubles championship this week. The tournament runs May 19-21 at Jackson High School.
“I’m feeling good,” Waldron said. “We don’t really know what’s going on in the north. I don’t recognize any of the players’ names from last year, but we know the north is always pretty strong and comparable to the south’s doubles teams. I’m looking forward to it.”
Added Nelson, “I’m really excited. … We’re just going to go out and do the best we can and hopefully make it to state again.”
Waldron and Nelson’s biggest challenge at the league tournament was a tough semifinal match against Mariner sisters Daril and Karla Perez. Waldron and Nelson prevailed 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
The Edmonds-Woodway duo initially was thrown off by the Perez sisters’ game plan.
“We were expecting them to do different things,” Waldron said. “They changed a lot. We had to change our game plan. … We adjusted well in the second and third sets.”
Waldron said she and Nelson were too focused on what they thought were the weaknesses of the Perez sisters.
“We were a lot more aggressive in the second and third sets for sure,” Waldron said.
“We were making more mistakes and pressure was accumulating on our side,” Nelson added. “We made a lot of unforced errors the first set. The second set we said ‘Let’s forget about it. It’s a new tennis match. Let’s go out there and play how we usually do.’ That’s what we did.”
After a first-round bye, Waldron and Nelson defeated Jackson’s Sarah Kim and Kelly Corbett 6-0, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
Roben and Fine also had a first-round bye and then beat Shorewood’s Francesca O’Malley and Pauline Douglass 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 in the quarterfinals. The Warriors duo then dispatched Mountlake Terrace’s Corinne Pingul and Jillian Branden-Armstrong 6-1, 7-5 in the semifinals.
Jackson’s Kim and Corbett finished fourth overall.
Edmonds-Woodway sophomore Jane Hong advanced to the singles final where she lost 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to Shorewood’s Mackenzie Bang. Hong was seed third in the tournament. After a first-round bye, she beat Mariner’s Vita Sayenko 7-5, 6-2 and then knocked off Kamiak’s Alyssa Gilbert 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals.
Hong was pleased to do so well.
“I was just trying to do the best that I could, ignoring my seeded number,” Hong said.
Hong suffered from some leg cramps during warm-ups and the concern that the cramps might return hampered Hong in the first set.
“I was afraid of running because of my cramping,” Hong said. “But it didn’t get worse. I went all out in the second set and then in the third set, I thought I got a little bit more passive.”
Hong finished fourth at last year’s district tournament and was an alternate to state.
“I’m hoping I can go to state as an actual player this year,” Hong said.