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Loyola's Miller on way to title

Loyola's Miller on way to title

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That Keith Miller should win the State B-C singles tennis championship this weekend in Missoula is as logical as 1-2-3.

As a freshman for Loyola Sacred Heart two years ago, Miller finished third in the state tournament. Last year, he followed it up with a second-place finish.

Now, after the graduation of last year's champion, Cut Bank's Brian McDivitt, Miller is favored to take the top spot in this year's tournament. And with a 6-2, 6-0 victory in the second round Thursday over Saint Ignatius' Wyatt McCollum, Miller came a step closer to the championship match.

Miller's match with McCollum was his first of the day after receiving a first-round bye. He said he felt confident going into the match and has been playing well recently, though he didn't feel Thursday's effort was his best.

"I think on some of the shots during the first set there he was trying to overpower the person," said Miller's coach, Gayle Yamasaki. "And after he settled down and realized he could work the point, that's when he started to win the match."

Miller will face Neil Christiansen of Valley Christian Friday in a quarterfinal match. His toughest competition will likely come from Casey Cable of St. Ignatius in a semifinal Friday afternoon, assuming both players win their early matches.

"I like his chances, but he's still got to work," Yamasaki said of Miller. "These matches coming up are going to be tough and he's going to have to elevate his game a little."

Miller is coming off of an undefeated conference season.

"I'm trying to stay confident and optimistic, but I think I can do it," he said.

For Superior's JaNece Godin, the tennis ball is greener on the other side of the bracket.

Godin, a senior who placed third in last year's State B-C tournament, won both of her opening-day matches of this year's state tournament by identical counts of 6-0, 6-0. Godin is coming off of a regular season in which she lost only two matches.

So what makes her situation less than favorable?

"There's Jacey Cooper lurking around here," Godin's coach Rick Berreth said.

Cooper, from Boulder, is last year's second-place singles finisher and the player responsible for both of Godin's losses this year. She's on Godin's side of the bracket, and should they both win their first matches Friday, they'll meet in a semifinal match later in the afternoon.

Berreth said he and Godin have focused on how to beat Cooper during recent practices, but they're trying to take the matches one at a time. That means focusing on Godin's early match Friday against Kelsey Brown of Fairfield before worrying about Cooper.

But should Godin face Cooper in the semis, she said she likes her chances.

"I hear it's really hard to beat an opponent three times in a row," Godin said.

The Fairfield girls took the first-day lead in the team standings with 13 points. Chester is next with 10, followed by Chinook with eight.

The six-time defending champion Cut Bank boys share the first-day lead with St. Ignatius and Valley Christian with 15 points.

Play for singles and doubles begins Friday at 8 a.m., with girls' matches at the University of Montana's Lindsay Tennis Center and boys' matches at Playfair Park.

GIRLS

Team scores: Fairfield 13, Chester 10, Chinook 8, Forsyth 7, St. Ignatius 7, Superior 7, Townsend 6, Conrad 5, Cut Bank 5, Darby 5, Fort Benton 5, Valley Christian 5, Baker 4, Choteau 4, Boulder 4, Big Sandy 3, Whitehall 3, Wolf Point 3, Troy 2, Eureka 1, Loyola Sacred Heart 1.

Singles

First round - Amber Keil, Conrad, def. Kelci Bailey, Superior, 6-1, 6-1; Hannah Moudree, Townsend, def. Noemie Aymand, Troy, 6-3, 6-1; Kari Pankratz, Baker, def. Heather Beerman, Fairfield, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1; Christina Eggensperger, Darby, def. Georgia Barber, Chinook, 6-4, 6-4; Sara Ashley, St. Ignatius, def. Keli Gentilini, Baker, 6-3, 6-1; Erika Lewton, Whitehall, def. Kelsey Cooper, Cut Bank, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1); Amanda Violett, Chester, def. Emily Brown, Troy, 6-0, 6-0; Tempe Regan, Superior, def. Shaileigh Straub, Baker, 6-1, 6-1; JaNece Godin, Superior, def. Jamie Ries, Conrad, 6-0, 6-0; Becky Moudree, Townsend, def. Kathi Klein, Eureka, 6-0, 6-3; Katie Hoffner, Valley Christian, def. JoAnna LaSorte, Chester, 6-2, 6-4; Kelsey Brown, Fairfield, def. Courtney Pickett, Baker, 6-2, 6-3; Jaycee Cooper, Boulder, def. Dawn Kellam, Chinook, 6-0, 6-0; Barb Pfeifer, St. Ignatius, def. Karin Bretz, Valley Christian, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; Jessica Smith, Forsyth, def. Tiffany Johnson, Boulder, 6-3, 6-2; Charlene Yingcharoen, Big Sandy, def. Anna Pearson, Conrad, 6-3, 6-4.

Second round - Amber Keil, Conrad, def. Hannah Moudree, Townsend, 6-3, 6-1; Christina Eggensperger, Darby, def. Kari Pankratz, Baker, 6-3, 6-0; Sara Ashley, St. Ignatius, def. Erika Lewton, Whitehall, 6-0, 6-0; Amanda Violett, Chester, def. Tempe Regan, Superior, 6-1, 6-4; JaNece Godin, Superior, def. Becky Moudree, Townsend, 6-0, 6-0; Kelsey Brown, Fairfield, def. Katie Hoffner, Valley Christian, 6-4, 6-4; Jaycee Cooper, Boulder, def. Barb Pfeifer, St. Ignatius, 6-0, 6-3; Jessica Smith, Forsyth, def. Charlene Yingcharoen, Big Sandy, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Doubles

First round - Gunlock/Peterson, Fairfield, def. Hege/Hall, Loyola, 7-6 (7-5), 6-0; Welch/Deady, Wolf Point, def. Knutzen/Craft, Boulder, 6-4, 6-3; Klenow/Truitt, Valley Christian, def. Allison/Lindsay, Fort Benton, 6-1, 6-3; DeVries/Stokes, Chester-JI, def. Simons/Cronan, Whitehall, 6-0, 6-2; Vandolah/Halverson Choteao, def. Peterson/Moore, Valley Christian, 6-1, 6-2; Burkhartsmeyer/Mohar, Chinook, def. Quade/Lundberg, Eureka, 6-4, 6-1; Patterson/Jacobsen, Fairfield, def. MacDonald/Brownlee, Wolf Point, 6-1, 6-3; Rol/Chunkapura, Forsyth, def. Udall/Keeble, St. Ignatius, 6-0, 6-1.

Second round - Gunlock/Peterson, Fairfield, def. Shay/Zauner, Eureka, 6-2, 6-3; Spaabeck/Pottenger, Fort Benton, def. Welch/Deady, Wolf Point, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2; Gregg/Rice, Cut Bank, def. Klenow/Truitt, Valley Christia, 6-2, 6-1; DeVries/Stokes, Chester-JI, def. Kary/Christiensen, Baker, 7-5, 6-1; Vandolah/Halverson, Choteau, def. Kountz/Robuck, Whitehall, 6-2, 7-5; Burkhartsmeyer/Mohar, Chinook, def. Morris/Kary, Baker, 6-4, 6-1; Patterson/Jacobsen, Fairfield, def. Schwehr/Hilton, Darby, 6-1, 6-2; Obie/Harshman, Chinook, def. Roll/Chunkapura, Forsyth, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

BOYS

Team scores: Cut Bank 15, St. Ignatius 15, Valley Christian 15, Conrad 14, Troy 9, Missoula Loyola 6

Singles

First round - Brett Williams, Conrad, def. Chad White, Valley Christian, 6-2, 6-2; Riley McCollum, St. Ignatius, def. Spencer Lewis, Cut Bank, 6-1, 6-0; Max Gravik, Troy, def. Kidron Cobb, Conrad, 6-3, 6-3; Jay Jensen, St. Ignatius, def. Mark Parmenter, Loyola, forfeit; Wyatt McCollum, SI, def. Jeremy Whelchel, Cut Bank, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4; Neil Christiansen, Valley Christian, def. Andrew Lehnerz, Conrad, 6-4, 6-2; Josh Paulson, Cut Bank, def. Randy Hoffman, Loyola, 6-0, 6-1; Josh Truitt, Valley Christian, def. Matt Rogers, Troy, 7-5, 6-1.

Second round - Sam Henderson, Troy, def. Brett Williams, Conrad, 6-0, 6-2; Riley McCollum, St. Ignatius, def. Jason Dark, Loyola, 6-0, 6-1; William Gray, Valley Christian, def. Max Gravik, Troy, 6-2, 6-0; Brett Cline, Cut Bank, def. Jay Jensen, St. Ignatius, 6-2, 7-5; Keith Miller, Loyola, def. Wyatt McCollum, 6-2, 6-0; Neil Christiansen, Valley Christian, def. Angelo Chiavorini, Troy, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4; Casey Cable, St. Ignatius, def. Josh Paulson, Cut Bank, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-2; Jordon Cobb, Conrad, def. Josh Truitt, Valley Christian, 6-0, 6-2.

Doubles

First round - Whelchel/Pyette, Cut Bank, def. Inabnit/Hoffner, Valley Christian, 6-4, 6-2; Springer/Zemple, Conrad, def. Franke, Hand, Troy, 6-4, 6-1; Schlosser/VandenBos, Conrad, def. Makepeace/Jensen, St. Ignatius, 6-2, 6-4; Larson/Paulson, Cut Bank, def. Fortunate/Doyle, Loyola, 6-0, 6-0.

Quarterfinals - Whelchel/Pyette, Cut Bank, def. Willet/Arlint, St. Ignatius, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5); Springer/Zemple, Conrad, def. Newman/Hoffman, Loyola, 6-0, 6-0; Velin/Gray, Valley Christian, def. Schlosser/VandenBos, Conrad, 6-0, 6-2; Larson/Paulson, Cut Bank, def. Etienne/Hoffman, Troy, 6-4, 6-1.

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