By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
McNary senior Hannah Childress went toe-to-toe with Ceanne Elliott in a battle of the top two girls singles players in the Greater Valley Conference.
But Childress couldn’t put away the two-time defending champ, falling to Elliott 6-7 (3-7) and 2-6 on Tuesday, May 1.
Childress won the first three games and led 5-4 in the first set before Elliott grabbed a 6-5 lead. Childress was able to even the score at 6-6 but Elliott won the tiebreaker.
“There was no pressure on me,” Childress said. “I just relaxed and had fun. I’m super proud of myself because I was able to relax and loosen up and play for fun. If I came in and was nervous and really stressing about it, I wouldn’t have got off to that kind of start.”
Childress won the first game of the second set before Elliott went on a roll to win the match.
“I noticed she was just ripping them,” Childress said. “She picked her game up I feel like in the second set. They were just coming a lot harder.”
Childress and Elliott were both undefeated this season with neither player being challenged.
“It’s crazy. It’s like going from 0 to 100,” Childress said of the increased competition. “But it’s fun.”
Childress said Elliott was just more consistent.
“There was just a lot of technical errors on my backhand that I can fix with practice,” Childress said. “When I was able to be more consistent, we were having really good rallies and I was winning most of the points but when I overpowered it or got nervous and choked up, my technical errors were getting me.”
The match was her final time playing on the home courts at McNary.
“It’s really sad,” Childress said. “I was really stressing about this season and nervous because it’s my last season. I just wanted to do the best I can. It just flew by like a blink of an eye.”
Childress should get another shot at Elliott in the GVC district tournament on May 10-12.
“I know that I’m right there,” Childress said. “The only thing that I doubt is my tennis experience, which I shouldn’t, just come in and be confident and know that I can do it. It’s just intimidating because she’s two-time champ. Now I know what I need to work on.”
Katherine Perez had to come from behind to win her final home match.
Perez fell behind 0-5 in the first set before storming back to win 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
“I think I just needed to warm up a bit,” Perez said. “My volleys were better than they have been in the last couple of matches. I’ve been working on them.”
Perez got the only point for the Lady Celts with West Albany winning the match 7-1.