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Sunnyside finishes ninth at Inland Empire tourney

SPOKANE - The Sunnyside tennis team brought a ninth place finish home from this past weekend's Inland Empire tournament in Spokane.

During the tournament the Sunnyside boys and girls teams played together against 43 schools ranging in size from B to 4A.

"They did very well," Sunnyside Coach Troy Whittle said of his team's performance at the tournament. He added that this year he had more people come back with top eight placings than ever before.

Going into the tournament Sunnyside's No. 1 doubles team made up of brothers Johnny and Danny Plesha, was defending the Inland Empire doubles championship they won in 2004.

The challenge to come back and win again proved to be easy for the Pleshas. Whittle said in the first round of the tournament the brothers beat a Southridge High School team 6-0, 6-2. The Sunnyside team then moved on to beat teams from Medical Lake and Lewis and Clark high schools to make it into the semi-finals.

In the semi-finals, the Pleshas faced off against the No. 1 seed from Wenatchee High School and won 6-3, 6-2.

In the championship match, the Sunnyside team took on the No. 1 doubles team from West Valley High School, winning 6-1, 6-1 and defending their title.

"This time the guys just stepped it up to the next level," Whittle said of the Pleshas.

Sunnyside's No. 1 singles player Dolores Gomez took home a fifth place finish from last weekend's tournament.

"She had a great tournament," Whittle said of Gomez.

After losing her match to the No. 1 seeded player from Richland, Gomez went on to win. She defeated girls from Central Valley High School and Davenport High School to make it into the consolation semi-finals, where she took on a girl from Connell, winning 6-1, 6-2.

The win put Gomez in the consolation championship round to determine who would take home fifth and sixth place. Gomez faced off against a girl from Colville High School, beating her 6-4, 6-3.

"She really played the best she has all year," Whittle said of Gomez.

Bringing home a sixth place finish for Sunnyside was No. 2 doubles team of Jesus Alquicira and Tyler Thompson.

The Sunnyside team lost its first match of the tournament to Medical Lake, but battled back to beat teams from Mead, Cheney and North Central high schools to make it into the consolation semi-final round.

Whittle said in the semi-finals the team Sunnyside was supposed to play against didn't show up, which means Alquicira and Thompson won by default, taking them into the consolation finals.

In the finals, Sunnyside faced off against a team from Moses Lake, losing 6-0, 6-1.

"They had a nice tournament," Whittle said of the team.

Sunnyside's No. 2 doubles team of Andrea Oesterle and Jessica Gudino finished in eighth place during the tournament.

The girls lost their first match to Mount Spokane High School, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, which put them in the consolation bracket. In the consolation bracket they racked up wins against Medical Lake and Sprague to make into the semi-finals against Lewis and Clark High School, where Sunnyside lost 6-1, 6-1.

The team then went on to play Connell High School, losing 2-6, 6-1 (7-2), and earning an eighth place finish.

Sunnyside's No. 2 mixed doubles team of Hunter Van de Graaf and Lanna Pangle finished the tournament in sixth place.

The two lost their first match against the No. 1 seeded team from Meade High School 6-4, 7-5. This put Van de Graaf and Pangle in the consolation bracket, where they won by default against Entiat and beat East Valley-Spokane to make it into the consolation semi-finals.

In the semi-finals, Van de Graaf and Pangle took on Medical Lake, winning 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. In the match to determine who would finish in fifth and sixth place, Van de Graaf and Pangle took on a team from Lewis and Clark High School and lost 6-1, 7-6 (7-1).

Whittle said his whole team was very competitive over the weekend. He added that there was not one 3A school which finished above the Sunnyside team.

The Sunnyside boys and girls tennis teams will play again Tuesday at Hanford.

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