Roseburg celebrates seniors, season with final scrimmage
The Roseburg girls tennis team was scheduled to have its final regular season dual of the season on Tuesday at the Umpqua Valley Tennis Center. However, Southwest Conference foe North Medford called and canceled. In light of the Tornado canceling, the Roseburg players did the only thing they knew how — have fun.
It was supposed to be senior night, the crowning moment of the hard working, soon to be graduated, athletes’ careers. In order to honor those seniors, the team split into two squads and had an Orange vs. Black scrimmage.
Head coach Jeremy Root took to the microphone like a man raised to emcee and lovingly, if not comically, introduced each of his players and his seniors.
He introduced his three seniors, Alexandra Sandfort, Sirarah Shirakawa and Hannah Jacobson.
“Ally-Alexandraaaa Sandfort, Sriracha Shirakawa, and Hannah Jácobson, your Roseburg seniors!” boomed Root over his personal speaker to the small crowd in attendance.
The scrimmage gave Roseburg a practice opportunity ahead of the district tournament, and had special significance to the players, as members of the winning team were to be recipients of $10 Dutch Bros. gift cards.
As Ally Sandfort put it, “I want to win, and I really want that gift card.”
The rules for the matches were modified to ease the risk of injury and focus on the fun. Matches were shortened to one set each with a tiebreaker, if necessary.
Sandfort did indeed win, as she and her sister, Lauren, of the Black team defeated Leanne Laws and Hannah Root of the Orange team, 6-3.
The Black team mostly dominated the contest, winning the overall “dual” 4-1
Of the other matches won by the Black team, Steffi Early and Mackenzie Eichman of Black defeated Orange’s Samantha Eichman and Jayda Pieske, Cecilia Torvik and Sararah “Sriracha” Shirakawa defeated Jacobson and Krissy Wattman, and Parker Bassett knocked off Maggie Sewell in a singles match.
The lone Orange team victory was by Audrey Goins and Sara Bryan, who defeated Hannah Bryan and Abby Medak.
Coach Root proudly bestowed the victors with not one but two prizes, the first being highly collectible and coveted Dutch Bros. stickers, the second being the equally coveted gift cards.
The winning team proceeded to cheer, applaud, and take group photos as though a trophy had been won, all for the simple joy of a high school favorite, and a long-time memory.
The elder Sandfort was a bit disappointed to not have a true match on senior day, but enjoyed the time she had with her teammates.
“Senior day is something I’ve been looking forward to since my freshman year,” Ally Sandfort said. “You know, you see it for the big sports like football and basketball where our players are honored and there’s a big crowd and it’s bittersweet and all. We don’t have that, but this is it for me, and it’s still special. My friends are here and I feel special today.”
Sandfort, a four-time letter-winner for the Tribe, will go on to study and play golf at Linfield College.
Shirakawa, an exchange student from Japan, is adored by her teammates and will return home to Japan following the Roseburg High graduation.
Root thought the experience of having Shirakawa on the team was fantastic.
“Sararah is awesome,” Root said. “I’ve really enjoyed having her and seeing her improve. She’s taught me some Japanese that I can yell during matches, and it’s been a joy to have her on the team.”
Jacobson is a student at Geneva Academy in Roseburg and has played for the Tribe for the past two seasons. She will study at the University of North Texas or Ball State next fall.