The Del Norte girls tennis team struggled to overcome a missing player in its lineup on Thursday, and dropped a close match 5-4 against Northcoast Prep.

The Warriors were strong at the top of their lineup, with wins in top two singles and doubles matches. But the Del Norte players that had to move up the ladder to make up for the absence of No. 4 singles players Emily Feeney couldn’t pull off enough wins to take the match against NCP.

“Northcoast Prep is a great team,” said Del Norte head coach Sara Sampels. “We just weren’t able to pull out the wins in the singles matches that we needed. They are a good team and we match up with them pretty evenly. We missed Emily — we needed her. It just didn’t work out for us on that day.”

The most competitive match of the day was the No. 1 singles match between Del Norte’s Jasmine Pearson, and Brianna Chapman of Northcoast Prep.

Pearson came from behind in the first set to pick up a 7-6 (7-5) win in a tiebreaker, and took the second set 6-4 to win the match.

“The girl from Northcoast Prep is really good, and she has a good stroke,” Sampels said. “It was a close match. They had a pretty close match the first time they played this year too, so we were kind of expecting a close match again.”

Pearson wasn’t feeling 100 percent in the match, but managed to battle to wins in both her singles and doubles matches.

“She was feeling pretty nauseous and under the weather, so we were really happy that she was able to pull out the win,” Sampels said.

Del Norte’s No. 2 player, Danika Scott, dominated her singles match with a 6-0, 6-1 over Northcoast Prep.

“Jasmine and Danika have been playing really well all season — I’m super proud of them,” Sampels said.

Although the Warriors won the top two singles matches, Northcoast Prep swept the No. 2 through 6 matches to take a 4-2 lead into doubles play.

Del Norte needed to sweep the doubles matches to pull out a win.

Pearson and Scott picked up an 8-2 win in the No. 1 doubles match.

Del Norte’s Aliyah Rafalowski and Lauren Galea, who both lost their singles matches earlier in the day, came back for an 8-3 win over the same two NCP players in the No. 2 doubles match.

Northcoast Prep managed to secure the team win with an 8-2 win in No. 3 doubles.

With the loss, Del Norte falls to 6-2 overall this season but remains in second place in the team standings.

Sampels said Del Norte hopes to be back to full strength when the Warriors head to McKinleyville on Tuesday. Del Norte won a close 5-4 match against the Panthers in Crescent City earlier this year.

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