Del Norte tennis girls prove to be a tough out in Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 singles tourney

Del Norte was shorthanded at the Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 girls tennis singles tournament on Saturday in Fortuna, but the Warriors were able to make some noise with the players who were available.

"I was pleased with the play of the girls, especially considering that we left Crescent City at 6:30 a.m. on the morning after homecoming to get to Fortuna in time to play the matches," said Del Norte girls tennis coach Jane Rumiano. "They showed great respect for their opponents and themselves by forcing (opponents) to play really good tennis to beat the Warrior Ladies."

The Warriors were one player short, with No. 4 singles player Raili Makela out for the weekend, attending a band competition.

Of the five remaining singles players, four won their first matches and earned a spot in the semifinals.

Jordan Babich beat St. Bernard's Mileena Maki 6-1, 6-0 in the first round. In the semifinals, Babich fell to Hannah Mathew of Arcata 6-3, 6-1.

"Jordan Babich played the best tennis of her season to win in the first round, and she continued to play very well but was beaten by an Arcata No. 1 who moved her around the court and forced her to make errors or hit outright winners," Rumiano said.

At No. 2, Debbie Yang bested North Coast Prep's AJ Murphy in a tight 7-5, 7-6 (5) first-round matchup. She went on to lose 6-1, 6-4 to Eureka's Maddie Moore in the semifinals.

"Debbie Yang began slowly in her first match, managed to get through that, then played aggressive tennis to push her Eureka opponent to hit winners to beat her, especially in the second set," Rumiano said.

Alexis Wright beat her first-round opponent, Keani Hugo-Momoa of Arcata 6-3, 6-4. She fell to Eureka's Lilly Copeland 6-0, 6-1.

"Alexis played very well in the first round but found herself playing a much more experienced Eureka player in the semis," Rumiano said.

At No. 6, Marine Henry advanced out of the first round with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Fortuna's Katrina DeVere. In the semifinals, Henry put up a fight, but fell to North Coast Prep's Claire McCoy 3-6, 6-7 (3).

"Marine won easily in the first round and pushed her North Coast Prep opponent in the semis, but a previously injured ankle hampered her play and she was eventually defeated," Rumiano said.

Panhia Yang dropped her first round match against Arcata's number five player Anna Nelson by scores of 6-4, 6-1.

"Panhia had difficulty pushing her Arcata opponent to make errors and lost in the first round," Rumiano said.

The Del Norte tennis team will head back to Fortuna next Saturday for the Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 doubles tournament. That will be the last event of the season for the Warriors.

Reach Michael Zogg at