League favorites advance through tourney

TACOMA — South Kitsap’s Stephanie Davison, Bremerton’s Iliana Petrova and Bellarmine Prep’s Suzie Matzinauer were a three-woman bagel factory in the first round of the Narrows League tennis tournament at the University of Puget Sound on Wednesday afternoon.

Petrova polished off her opponent, Stadium’s Erin Ranch, in 42 minutes 6-0, 6-0. On court one, Matzinauer blanked Olympic’s Ashley Robert by the same score. Davison took advantage of the good karma left by Matzinauer on court one and handily demolished her opponent Jenny Chow from Olympia, 6-0, 6-0, on the same court.

All three players overmatched their opponents. Petrova pulled off a unique statistic for the typical baseline smasher with eight service aces.

The row of five courts at the University of Puget Sound afforded a view of the best the Narrows league has to offer when it came to prep tennis.

“It was all right,” said an always reserved Petrova after her match. “It would have been nice to have a better warmup.”

All three girls are shoe-ins for the district tournament.

They have plenty of practice on the courts. In addition to playing for their high schools, the girls play each other regularly in U. S. Tennis Association tournaments throughout the year and Davison and Petrova sometimes hit with each other at the Bremerton Tennis and Athletic Club. They are both coached by the athletic club’s Eric Jacobsen, who coached Central Kitsap’s two-time Class 4A tennis champion Laith Al-Agba and Bremerton’s Joel Trudel, who won the Class 4A West Central District tournament this fall.

Huhta said she felt sorry for the opponents of the three top Narrows League players.

“I felt bad for (Petrova’s opponent),” she said. “It was hard for that little girl to go out there. Iliana went out there and said, ‘Why prolong it?’ ”

For Davison, her 6-0, 6-0 trumping was business as usual. In 2003, the sophomore was ranked No. 13 in the United States girl’s age 16 division.

She wore a bright pink cloth flower pinned to her shirt and couldn’t contain her smile before or after her match Wednesday.

“Skillwise she is at the top of her game,” said South Kitsap’s coach Todd Olson. “Now she’s just kind of fine tuning. She has a chance as well as any player to win state.”

That’s Olson’s nice way of saying Davison has a great chance to win state as only a sophomore.

Early this year she played Matzinauer in a high school match and lost to her 5-7, 6-0, 5-7. The next day, in a USTA match, Davison triumphed against her 6-4, 6-4. She is capable of turning her game around at any second because she has the skills.

The only thing Olson wants Davison to continue to work on in the next months and years is her mental game.

“When she loses a point, (she should) stop, take some time, and gather herself to play the next point,” he said.

In doubles news, Bremerton’s Christina Davis and Cassie Slumkoski were eliminated in two matches from the tournament, 0-6, 1-6, and 2-6, 0-6.

“They felt really bad, they were really bad about it,” said Huhta. “At least they made it to league.”

In Thursday’s quarterfinals, Petrova took on Vanessa Rothfels of Capital High School, and Davison took on Karen White of Wilson. Results were unavailable at press time.

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