Right back in sync

A couple weeks had passed since the last time Carly Holtgraves and Caroline Craft teamed up on the tennis court.

A couple weeks had passed since the last time Carly Holtgraves and Caroline Craft teamed up on the tennis court.

Not to worry, though. As friends and tennis partners for much of the past decade, they didn’t lose a step.

Didn’t lose a match either.

The senior tandem from Auburn Riverside High swept through four contests at the South Puget Sound League 3A tennis tournament, culminated by last Friday’s 6-0, 6-1 victory against Auburn’s Peyton Prothero and Mariah Siemion in the finals on Riverside’s courts.

During their four-day, four-match trek to the title, Holtgraves and Craft won 48 of the 52 games they played.

“We’ve known each other and played tennis ever since second grade,” Craft said. “We hadn’t played together since I left (for the DECA convention in Georgia the last week of April). Fortunately, we were able to step it up.”

Holtgraves and Craft will take the league’s top seed to the West Central-Southwest District tournament this week at Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway. Play began on Tuesday (results unavailable), continues Thursday and concludes Saturday. Matches begin at 8:20 a.m.

The SPSL title was the second straight for Holtgraves, who won it with now-graduated Jessica Grover last year. Craft played singles in 2007, winning one match.

“I would say it’s how my serve works, and my serve was pretty good this match,” Holtgraves said after the finals. “It helps us (win) the point instead of going long rallies.”

But there were long rallies aplenty during the match against Prothero and Siemion, a freshman-junior combination (respectively) who came into the tourney as the No. 2 team from Auburn and went out as the No. 2 team in the entire league. Along the way, they knocked off second-seeded Gabby Engelhard and Taylor Hart in a marathon quarterfinal, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). They then cruised past Sumner’s Emily Taylor and Reanne Caruhas in the semis, 6-3, 6-2.

“We knew we would try our best, but gosh,” Siemion said, leaving the sentence unfinished. “It wasn’t our best match (in the finals), but we played real hard.”

In fact, while the first set was 6-0, four of those games went to deuce.

White River sophomore Maggie Becker made it two consecutive singles titles, downing second-seeded Auburn sophomore Sandy Dennett, 6-3, 6-0.

Becker went to state last year, so Dennett, who went 12-1 during regular-season play (her only loss was to Becker, 6-2, 6-3), knew what she was facing.

“Obviously, the pressure was on her, so just go for it,” Dennett said. “Through the first set, I played pretty well. But once her forehand got warmed up, it was harder.”

Auburn senior standout Breann VanSteenvoort finished fourth in singles to earn a district berth. And the Trojans won the team championship, scoring 28 points to beat out Riverside, which had 22.