Warriors junior Bailey Bell won three of four matches and won the third-place match at the 4A/3A/2A/1A tournament Friday and Saturday at Oregon State. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

CORVALLIS — After crushing back-to-back opponents through the first two rounds of the 4A/3A/2A/1A girls state tennis tournament, Philomath junior Bailey Bell knew she would have a true challenge in the semifinals against North Bend freshman Raegan Farm.

Bell had lost to Farm earlier this season, 6-0, 6-2, in a competition at Coos Bay, so the two players were familiar with one another. In the rematch Saturday morning on the courts at Oregon State University, the end result was the same despite a better overall showing from Philomath’s standout singles player.

“I knew coming into the semis that it was going to be tough for me but I’m pretty happy with the way I played,” Bell, the No. 3 seed, said. “I had a really good first set, so that was fun.”

Second-year coach Greg Thorson was impressed with Bell’s effort.

“Bailey was really fired up for her match with the No. 1 seed and she came out and played terrific,” Thorson said. “It was 4-3 … and we missed one or two shots and the other girl just turned it on.”

Thorson knew going in that the top two seeds — Farm and Klamath Union junior Patricia Dougherty — were likely going to meet in the championship match. Dougherty ended up winning a close one in the finale, 6-3, 7-6.

PHS junior Bailey Bell poses with the team’s fourth-place trophy. (Photo provided by Molly Bell)

“These other girls play year round, they play all over the western United States, they play tons of high-quality matches,” Thorson said. “And Bailey is an all-state soccer player so she’s not willing to give that up in order to compete (year round) and I respect that.”

Bell came back later in the morning to easily defeat Valley Catholic sophomore Ryan Lomber, the No. 4 seed, by a 6-0, 6-0 margin.

“With this match, I just tried to stay focused and to power through and keep my head in it,” Bell said afterward. “Just tried to keep my shots in and let her make the mistakes and that worked out.”

It’s the second straight year that Bell had reached the third-place match. Last year, she came up short and placed fourth.

“I’m happy with it,” Bell said about the tournament. “I feel like I played my best.”

Philomath scored enough points to tie for fourth place in the final team standings. Oregon Episcopal won the team title with 13 points with Klamath Union second (8.5), Catlin Gabel third (8) and the Warriors and North Bend tied for fourth (6).

Phoebe Dodson, left, and Daniella Carlisle celebrate a point in their first-round match Friday at the state tournament. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The doubles team of senior Phoebe Dodson and junior Daniella Carlisle and junior singles player Adele Beckstead also contributed to the point total with their play. Dodson and Carlisle lost in the first round against the eventual state champions and won their first consolation bracket match before bowing out in the consolation semis.

“Phoebe and Dani in the first match, the other girls were just better and there’s no shame in that, no shame at all,” Thorson said. “They won their second match in that first consolation on a tiebreaker, which was pretty cool, so they were excited. And then in the consolation semifinal, they could’ve won but they would’ve had to play well … they just made a few more mistakes than the other girls did.”

Catlin Gabel’s Lily Wand and Amanda Perez defeated Dodson and Carlisle in the first round, 6-2, 6-1, and went on to take the state title with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 win over Oregon Episcopal’s Sophia Dube and Marin Roseman, the No. 1 seed.

Dodson and Carlisle outlasted Cascade Christian’s Makenna Dunn and Ellie Harrington, 9-8, with a tiebreaker that went to 7-2 (using pro-set scoring). In the consolation semis, Elise Seals and Brenda Ramirez, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, beat Dodson and Carlisle, 8-3, and then went on to win the consolation championship.

Phoebe Dodson, from left, Coach Greg Thorson, and Daniella Carlisle chat during a break in the action. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Dodson was making her second straight appearance at state after qualifying last year with then-senior K Bacho. Carlisle was paired up with Dodson this season from the start.

“Me and Dani, we were a little less familiar with each other and so that was interesting,” Dodson said. “We definitely developed a lot throughout the season as our friendship grew and so that was fun to witness.”

Each player’s skills contributed to their on-court success.

“I’m better at baseline and she’s better at net, so those are our strengths,” Carlisle said. “If I’m at the baseline, she’s at the net.”

Dodson’s perspective mirrored that of her partner.

“It was really nice because she came from a singles position and the singles players normally have better stroke mechanics … so it was good to have her in the back and me in front,” Dodson said. “We normally did our best in that position. She’d set up a really good shot, like, with her backhand stroke, and then I’d come up and kill it at the net.”

Dodson and Carlisle entered the state tournament after a somewhat disappointing result out of districts. The pair secured the No. 1 seed at districts but had to settle for fourth place.

 “It was a little disappointing when we got fourth place but that’s just because I was really sick,” Carlisle explained. “But we were still happy because we were still going to state.”

PHS junior Adele Beckstead gets ready to serve in her match against eventual state champion Patricia Dougherty. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Beckstead had a tough draw in the singles tournament with a first-round matchup Friday morning against Klamath Union’s Dougherty, who won 6-2, 6-0.

“She was definitely really good but I felt like I learned a lot from the match,” Beckstead said.

She came back to win her first consolation match over Lexi Mills of St. Mary’s (Medford), 8-0. Then she was off to the district track meet in Sweet Home to win the 3,000-meter run.

“I enjoy the experience of doing consolations — hitting against others who didn’t get out of the first round,” Beckstead said. “It was a good opportunity.”

On Saturday, Beckstead faced Weston-McEwen’s Jacqlyn Albert and lost, 8-6. Thorson said Beckstead’s opponent was what is referred to as a “retriever.”

“They get everything — they’re quick, they’re scrappy, they don’t have great technique but they get the ball back, they get it every time,” Thorson said. “You pretty much have to hit winners to beat them.”

Beckstead again headed off to Sweet Home afterward for the track meet and ended up qualifying for state in a second event with her performance in the 1,500.

“I did have to balance the two sports this weekend but I feel like I was able to put my attention on each one of them,” she said.

Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

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