NHS girls' tennis moves
into CIF semifinals
By Misty Volaski
Nordhoff girls' tennis coach
Rebecca Cook made a gutsy move last week. As CIF play-offs loomed,
she switched doubles duo Alex Paddock and Rachel Ward to play
singles and moved Nathalie Selleslags into the No. 1 doubles
position with Nicole Pettler.
That decision paid off last Thursday in the girls' round one
game against Cabrillo/Lompoc (No. 2 Los Padres League). At the
Ojai Athletic Club, Nordhoff was down, 9-8, as Emily Johnston
came onto the court to play No. 3 Conquistador Lauren Vance.
With the sun sinking fast and the cold setting in, Cook said
there was a certain intensity in the air.
"I had a feeling this one was going to come down to a tiebreaker,"
Cook added. "I told the girls, 'Don't give away any games,
and get as many games as possible.'"
Johnston followed her coach's instructions, besting Vance, 6-3,
to bring Nordhoff and Cabrillo to a 9-9 tie. "We had to
count every single game that every single girl played."
The result? Nordhoff had won 74 games to the Conquistadores'
72, qualifying them for CIF round two against Whittier Christian.
One of Nordhoff's bigger problems against Cabrillo was singles
player Ellen Mankemeier, who won all three of her matches against
"She plays on the strengths of our players," Cook said.
"It was so unconventional. We weren't expecting that."
Whittier Christian, however, proved a much easier foe to surpass.
Nordhoff's doubles teams swept all of their matches, and Johnston
swept her singles matches.Both Paddock and Ward took home one
of three wins each in the No. 2 and No. 3 singles positions.
"I just had the biggest smile on my face. The feeling in
the van on the way home was awesome. The girls were very proud
of themselves, so excited."
Cook chalks up the wins to putting lots of focus on each girls'
strengths. "We went into it focused on what we do well,"
Cook said. "I wanted them to feel confident in their abilities."
Nordhoff (No. 2 Frontier League) played Savanna (No. 2 Orange
League) Tuesday. (Results were unavailable as of press time,
but can be found at cifss.org or in Friday's sports section.)
A win against Savanna would mean a semifinal match on Thursday
against the winner of the Fairmont Prep/Linfield Christian game.
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