BCC tennis team fights tough battle for NWAACC title

From left, Yuri Kida, Janet Adisuwono, Karissa Bodnar, tennis captain and number 2 singles champion, Courtney Groszhans, Ciara Schultz, number 6 singles champion, Lauren Heino, Hannah Jordt, number 5 singles champion Rika Matsumoto, and 4-time NWAACC champion, Head Coach Jason Chapman Written by: Jesse DeLange First they won it. Then they won it again, and again. Then, one year later, they won it again. That “it” is the NWAACC championship and that last “again” came Sunday May 18 in Spokane, WA. Four years running, or swinging, the BCC women’s tennis team left the NWAACC tournament with a first-place trophy in their hands. They just don’t lose. If there was ever any doubt that the team would 4-peat it was erased on Sunday after BCC was named champion. Three players won their respective singles championships. Number six singles player Lauren Heino, number five singles player Rika Matsumoto and number two singles player and captain Courtney Groszhans, all came home with individual first place finishes. Winning the championship this year was different from years past. “It was a close call … the score is totally nothing, if you’re there it’s different,” said Matsumoto. Although finishing the 2008 regular season undefeated, the team limped into the NWAACC tournament. Head Coach Jason Chapman said, “It was not as easy as last year, but this year we at least placed 1, 2 or 3 in every event.” Heino and number three singles player Yuri Kida were both injured and weren’t sure how they would perform in the tournament. Kida had an ailing shoulder injury sustained two weeks ago against Spokane as well as a foot and calf injury. Heino had an injured hip. On the way to Spokane the team stopped to have the girls looked at by a physical therapist. On the way home they just drove right by, trophy in hand. Even though she felt them, nerves didn’t play a factor in Heino’s championship run. Entering the championship game against Skagit Valley’s number five singles player, Holly Olson, Heino said, “I was nervous even though I’d just beat her two weeks before.” Nervous or not, Heino won the match in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0. She had a bye in the first round and recorded a 6-0, 6-0 victory in the second round against Green River. Matsumoto didn’t have such an easy time winning her championship. All year she only lost one match. After losing to Skagit Valley’s number five singles player, Starla Seal, in the regular season Matsumoto evened up the series beating her at home. Then she, like Heino, met Skagit in the championship game. After winning the first set 6-4, Matsumoto felt like she was in control of the match. The second set was a different story. She lost after winning just two games, 2-6. “I thought that I lost it … her momentum started to come back,” said Matsumoto. Head Coach Jason Chapman pulled her aside between the second and third set and gave her some advice. He told her to hug her teammates, give some high fives and sing a song. So she did. And the third set and the championship were hers, 6-3. “It wasn’t an easy win, I had to fight for it. I feel like I earned it.” Last year’s tennis team won every match at the NWAACC tournament. This year only three players took the crown, but it was more than enough to win for the fourth straight year. BCC put up 120 points; Skagit Valley was the next closest team with 87 and although the margin of victory was only 33 points the team really didn’t know if they were going to 4-peat. “I thought we were going to lose by 2 points or something,” said Matsumoto after the tournament. Two of the three BCC players who won their singles championships weren’t even scheduled to play in the 2008 season. After a few players dropped out of the team last minute Chapman had to search for new players, quick. He found Heino and Matsumoto. The two won key victories considering they both came against second place finisher, Skagit Valley. Incomplete teams don’t win championships but Chapman brought it together like a 3-time NWAACC champion would, then he won a fourth. He said finding those players, “Was huge.” Courtney Groszhans with trophy. Heino #5 singles champ, Rika Matsumoto.