Bulletin Staff Report

It was not a monsoon, but it was just enough rain to wash out half of Bend High’s girls tennis dual against Ridgeview on Thursday.

With the Lava Bears’ Megan Riley and the Ravens’ Riley Hanks each winning singles matches, and with Bend’s Trinity Baraduni and Haley Pierce and Ridgeview’s Sierra Cassaro and Ciera Pinkerton each claiming a doubles victory, the dual resulted in a 2-2 draw at Bend.

Thursday’s match, however, was more of a tuneup for the Lava Bears, who will host the two-day Bend Invitational beginning Friday.

“We’re always excited to be a part of this tournament,” said Kevin Collier, who has organized the tournament for many of his 20 years as the Bend coach. “It’s a lot of work, but there’s a lot of reward: seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces and them getting some good exercise and, hopefully, some sun.”

The Bend Invitational, which will be played at four locations in Bend, features 15 of the top girls tennis teams in Oregon as well as the Papermakers from Washington’s Camas High. The dual-format bracket includes Jesuit of Portland, which has won three of the past five Class 6A state championships; Oregon Episcopal of Portland, which has won three of the past five 4A/3A/2A/1A state titles; as well as Central Oregon schools Bend, Mountain View, Redmond and Crook County.

“It’s a credit to our community that we’re able to track those (out-of-area) teams to come over here,” Collier said. “From our team’s standpoint, there’s pride that those teams come here. … The nice thing is you can get the teams from Washington and all over the state. That’s something you’re not going to see until the state tournament.”

Matches, each of which will consist of four singles and four doubles contests, will be played at Juniper Park and Bend, Mountain View and Summit high schools. Each team will play two matches Friday, and the semifinal and championship matches are scheduled for Saturday.

“The biggest value is just match play,” Collier said. “For kids to play four matches in two days, you can learn a lot and they can learn a lot and get better, believe it or not, in two days.”