116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — They are strong at the top, have talent up and down the lineup and are still pretty darn young.
And now, the Cedar Rapids Washington girls’ tennis team has earned a spot in the Class 2A state semifinals. The No. 4 Warriors were in control from the first serve Saturday, downing No. 6 Pleasant Valley, 5-0, at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center.
Despite PV’s glossy 31-1 record entering the meet, there was a calm among the Washington players as they took the court.
“I think we all were confident,” junior Kathryn Zylstra said. “Everyone has been playing well in practice. We came out today and played like we've been playing in practice. I was impressed with what everybody did, but it was what I was expecting.”
Zylstra set the tone, finishing her match at No. 1 quickly with PV's Lauren Masengarb, 6-1, 6-1, just moments after sophomore Katelynn Kock downed Jordan Ingram, 6-2, 6-1.
Kock, who will join Zylstra in shooting for a state doubles title next weekend, wasn't surprised to see the Warriors finish off the match in singles.
“I think we all expected to win in singles,” Kock said. “We went out and did what we thought we could do.”
Coach Brandon Hornback's team (17-1) advances to the state semifinals against top-ranked West Des Moines Dowling on June 1 in Waukee. The Maroons advanced with a 5-0 win Saturday over Ankeny.
Hornback knew the Spartans had some talented players, but with Zylstra and Kock at the top of his lineup, he felt Washington could end the match without having to play doubles.
“We have a lot of firepower at the top,” he said. “I think in all six spots we were killing it today. I did tell the girls that PV had some good players and a good record, but sometimes a record can be a little deceiving based on the schedules teams play.”
Five of Washington's six players made the state singles and doubles tournament and only one, Liberty Wickham, is a senior.
“We can be even better next year,” Hornback said.
When the Warriors meet Dowling in the state semifinals, the roles will be reversed.
“We will be the underdog, but I like what we have at the top of the line-up,” he said. “They are No. 1 but we have solid players up and down the lineup. I like our chances.”
In Class 1A play at Saydel, defending state champion Cedar Rapids Xavier (19-1) made quick work of Clarinda (13-2), winning 5-0 to earn a spot in the final four. The Saints will meet Spirit Lake (22-2), a 5-0 winner Saturday over Carroll Kuemper, in the semifinals.
Decorah (17-3) advanced to a state quarterfinal match with Waterloo Columbus (22-3), edging Aplington-Parkersburg, 5-4, in a regional final. Columbus advanced by downing Boone, 5-0. The two teams will meet at 3 p.m. on Monday in the last of four state quarterfinal matches.
Class 2A girls’ state tennis quarterfinals
At Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center
Cedar Rapids Washington 5, Pleasant Valley 0
Singles: Kathryn Zylstra (CRW) def. Lauren Masengarb 6-1, 6-1; Katelynn Kock (CRW) def. Jordan Ingram 6-2, 6-1, Liberty Wickham (CRW) def. Kavya Kalathur, 6-3, 6-2, Mya Messenger (CRW) def. Aarya Joshi 6-2, 6-3, Chloe Palmer (CRW) def. Trinity O'Brien, 6-3, 6-2; Peyton Caldwell (CRW) was leading Shravani Inampudi, 7-5 5-0 (DNF).
Class 1A girls’ state tennis quarterfinals
Cedar Rapids Xavier 5, Clarinda 0
Singles: Courtney Carstensen (X) def. Mayson Hartley 6-2, 6-1; Ally Burger (X) def. Taylor Cole 6-3, 6-1; Ella Tallett (X) def. Avery Walter 6-1, 6-3; Avery Link (X) def. Brooke Brown 6-2, 6-2; Riley Braksiek (X) was leading Riley Nothwehr 7-6, 1-0, (DNF); Maggie Zittergruen (X) def. Emma Stogdill 6-2, 6-1