By David Pan Enterprise sports editor
Meadowdale’s Josie Dow is a quick study.
Though she’s only been playing tennis seriously for two years, the Maverick junior showed some veteran poise in winning her first Western Conference 3A South Division singles championship.
Dow defeated Shorecrest’s Meera Limaye when the Scot freshman was forced to default during the third set of the title match May 13 at Jackson High School.
At the time of the default, Dow was ahead 3-1 after losing the first set 6-2 and winning the second 6-4. Limaye won the first meeting between the two earlier in the year.
“During the regular season I didn’t feel like I was playing that well,” Dow said. “I knew I had to be aggressive.”
Dow spent much of the first set trying to get reacquainted with Limaye.
“I was kind of getting a feel for her again,” Dow said. “I hadn’t seen her in a long time.”
The momentum started shifting in the second set.
“She was getting a little bit slower,” Dow said. “I started getting ahead. She was making mistakes that she usually doesn’t make, which I was kind of surprised about.”
The heat appeared to be affecting Limaye in the third set and after a 15-minute break, the match was called.
Dow advanced to this week’s 3A District 1 tournament, which was scheduled to start May 18 at Mount Vernon High School.
In the semifinals, Dow defeated Glacier Peak’s Catherine Jorgenson 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. Dow opened the tournament with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Lynnwood’s Hannah Ham.
“I tend to figure out my opponent more in the first set,” Dow said. “I’m not a big first-set winner.”
Nerves also could have played a role in the first-set loss in the finals, according to Meadowdale coach Mark Schneider.
“Going into that finals, she was a little bit unsure because she had only seen Meera once,” Schneider said.
Dow’s strong play in the second set boosted her spirits.
“She had a lot of confidence going into the third set,” Schneider said.
Dow is now focused on advancing to the district finals. The top two players earn berths to state, while the third-place finisher is the alternate. Dow placed third in districts last year.
“I’m really focused on my goal,” Dow said. “It’s like my coach said: ‘Come in, clock in and take care of business.’ … You’ve got to get the job done. You have to be focused from the beginning.”
Dow tucks away in the back of her mind what works when she prevails in a match.
“Every time she wins a match, she builds on that,” Schneider said. “She doesn’t forget what it takes to win. She doesn’t forget her strategies once she’s played somebody once.”
Dow used to play select soccer but gave that up to focus on tennis.
“I just love (tennis). I played almost every day in the summer,” she said. “It’s really my main focus.”
Teammate Olivia Bates finished fifth in singles and also moved on to districts. Meadowdale’s Vanessa Woo and Natalie Buslach took fourth in doubles.