Cool as the fan, cool as a cucumber or cool as the breeze - and it was cool - any way you look at it, Sara Schoenbeck was calm when the pressure was on last Tuesday at Doherty High School in the non-conference matchup.
Coach Sam Pisciotta said prior to the match that his No. 1 singles freshman was going against great competition in Kylie Simons, but Schoenbeck could win.
And so she did in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. The win, however, was certainly earned.
Weather played a factor for both players as each struggled with their serves early in the first set. Schoenbeck’s tribulations ensued much longer than Simons’ as she accumulated several faults.
“My toss wasn’t very high the whole match,” Schoenbeck said. “I just kept trying to hit it higher, and toward the middle of the match I got more first-serves in.”
Schoenbeck took a 5-4 set lead after reconfiguring her serve and overcoming surges by Simons.
After starting second set knotted at 1-1, Schoenbeck jumped to a 5-1 set lead, and a quick demise was all but certain for Simons.
But that last point is always tricky.
Simons did not go down quietly as she willed her way back into the match winning three straight and putting pressure on the freshman.
“I didn’t play very well the second set,” Schoenbeck said. “She really messed me up with the drop shots.”
Simons made the freshman misjudge several of her shots in the second set and climbed back to a 5-4 deficit as a result. Not wanting to lose to a rival allowed Schoenbeck to halt any comeback Simons had planned.
“We’ve played each other a few times,” Schoenbeck said. “I don’t want to swap victories every time we play.”
That ambition propelled her past Simons and to a victory. While the two were silent on the court, Schoenbeck show respect to her rival after the match.
“She’s a smart player,” she said.
Pueblo West 5,
Schoenbeck, PW, def. Simons, D, 6-4, 6-4; Megilligan, PW, def. Becar, D, 6-3, 6-2; McCarthy, PW, def. Chesire, D, 6-1, 6-1.
Gaide and McCown, PW, def. Allen and Wald, D, 6-4, 6-4; Cavender and Parker, PW, def. Hylton and Daly D, 6-2, 6-3; Rochelle and Rea, D, def. Masters and Pfannenstiel, PW, 7-6(7-3), 6-4; Stultz and Ross, D, def. Bertoldo and Blackford, PW, 6-3, 6-1.