Sports

Girls tennis doubles: Carpenter and Zemplenyi take third at state

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander Michelle Zemplenyi returns a serve during the districts meet held at Lower Woodland Park May 15. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander Michelle Zemplenyi returns a serve during the districts meet held at Lower Woodland Park May 15.
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The doubles team of Amelia Carpenter and Michelle Zemplenyi took third place overall at the state tournament and solidified their place in the Mercer Island girls tennis program’s history.

“We definitely surpassed our expectations,” said Zemplenyi.

The Islander team battled through the state tournament after placing fourth at districts and second in league.

“The only team they lost to were the eventual state champions,” said Hedlund. “They played very, very well and peaked at the right time.”

Zemplenyi helped her partner finish her high school career with an emphatic win, defeating Vi Nguyen and Keilah Fanene of Evergreen during the consolation final, 6-2, 6-0.

“We played our best tennis that we have played all year,” said Carpenter. “We were able to stay focused throughout the tournament.”

Kennewick gave Mercer Island its only loss of the tournament, 6-0, 6-2 during the semifinals.

Carpenter and Zemplenyi began the tournament as hot as the outside courts in the Tri-Cities, beating their Sumner opponents 6-1, 6-2.

The second round pitted the team against Lauren Whatley and Catherine Phelps of Lakeside, a team that had defeated Carpenter and Zemplenyi during the district tournament.

“We knew that we didn’t play very well against them during districts,” said Zemplenyi. “And we made the most of our second chance.”

But the Islander team was prepared for the heat and the challenge, enduring the grueling match and pulling out the 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3) victory.

“It did not surprise me,” said Hedlund. “I think their opponents were over confident and thought they could just roll over the girls.”

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