Photos by Gerardo Bolong
Maddie Lu of Kennedy Catholic proudly displays her second place medal from the Seamount League 3A girls tennis tournament.

Kemp and Vorng nab No. 1 seed

By Gerardo Bolong

Highline High School's No. 2 girls doubles pairing of sophomore Jacquelin Kemp and senior Disney Vorng went unbeaten in four matches, including an opening round bye to shock the field for the No. 1 Seamount League seed to the West Central/Southwest bi-district girls 3A tennis tournament that begins on May 23 at Auburn Mountainview High School. Out of the Highline High School locale of the Seamount League 3A tournament that concluded May 17 the top two placings qualified for the next level.
As the No. 4 seed, Kemp and Stanford-bound Vorng defeated Liliann Mai and Andressa Chan of Hazen before outlasting Kennedy Catholic sophomores Avery Corcoran and Aine Dempsey-Horstman, 4-6,6-2,10-6 ( super tie-breaker) in the semifinals. The surprising sensations then overcame Pirate teammates, the No. 3 seeded Nhi Lam and Angelica Yu, in the championship match.

"They played smart and worked hard," Highline Pirate head coach Scott Babcock said. "Kemp adjusted from singles from the first half of the season and is smart plus works hard. She gets better every match."
Kemp and Vorng open play at 10 a.m on Friday against a yet to be determined pair.

Kennedy Catholic took the tennis high road to send Seamount League representatives to bi-district.

Leading the Lancer effort will be a Kennedy Catholic doubles team and a Lancer singles ace coming out of the Burien tournament.

Corcoran and Dempsey-Horstman stroked to second place in the doubles. After a first round bye, the Lancers beat a Hazen pair before their loss to Kemp and Vorng. The John F. Kennedy tandem rebounded to defeat Tess Myrick and Sophie Nelson from their own KC team, 3-6, 6-4, 10-4. Down went Naima Shaltu and Katherine Eng of Hazen, to the Lancer duo, setting up a confrontation with Lam and Yu. This time, the Lancers won by default to reach the promised land of continued postseason action.
"They're both solid players," said Kennedy Catholic head coach Maryann Thorp. "They improved every match. They were steady from the baseline and played smart, being aggressive when necessary."

Kennedy Catholic starts the tournament at 8:30 a.m. against L. Ly and M. Cabrera of Lincoln.

In singles play, Maddie Lu prevailed in an interesting set of circumstances that involved confrontations with her teammates to finally wrest second place away from teammate Rebecca O'Sullivan and thus qualify for bi-district. Lu began the tournament with a two-set victory against Highline's Maria Sanchez. After beating fellow Lancer Olivia Esparza, 6-2, 7-5, Lu then lost a semifinal to No. 1 seed Misa Takami of Hazen. Top seeded Takami won the championship by working past Lancer Rebecca O'Sullivan, 6-1, 6-0. O'Sullivan had just beaten teammate Hannah Baillie, 6-4, 6-3, in the semifinals.

In the consolation bracket, Lu eventually edged out Esparza again, 7-6, 6-4, following a 3-6, 6-3, 10-4 victory against Jathxiry Salazar of Highline, to face off against O'Sullivan for the last seed to bi-district. Staying in control throughout, Lu won her bi-district berth, 6-0, 6-0, with O'Sullivan becoming the alternate.

"The coaches are supportive and I always go for the ball," she said. "I'm like a backboard, keeping the ball in play until my opponent makes a mistake. I want to be consistent and stay positive."

Lu faces Kassandra Slone of Shelton in an 8:30 a.m. encounter in Auburn.

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