This match was designed to be a sectional opponents showdown to get ready for Sectionals. Boylan Catholic won the sectional last year and we came in 2nd, but Boylan has been moved up to the larger class, so it didn’t turn out that way. But we drove out there early in the morning anyway for some good competition and the chance to play Rockford Lutheran who will be in our sectional. Piper Schrepferman has been looking forward to a good challenge against a familiar player from Boylan. Last time she played this girl was in a non-IHSA tournament, where Piper was clearly outplayed, 0-6, 0-6. Although Piper did not win this match, it was a different story today. Piper let her opponent know that she’s playing at a different level now by going up 3-0 in the first set. Her opponent rallied though and for the next 15 minutes, we all got to witness some of the best played tennis we’ll see all year. The ball went back and forth with tremendous pace with each player winning points with aggressive swings and winning by inches. Piper lost that set 6-4, but kept up the level throughout the entire 2nd set. Her opponent made a clear change in strategy that Piper had a hard time turning into an advantage. We fell behind in that second set 5-2, and then we made an adjustment of our own. Piper got her out of position and started hitting big winners, winning two games in a row. Haley Lemp, our #2 singles player was watching with me at this point and said several times about the shots these girls were hitting, “How do human beings even do this?” The tennis was that good. Unfortunately, down 4-5, her opponent managed to sneak in a match-winning game 4-6. Had she not gotten that game, I have a feeling we could have turned that match around. That was a great match. Congrats, Piper. Haley Lemp played our #2 singles spot against a girl who is outstanding at keeping the ball in play. She never hit that hard, she was just really good at getting to the ball and putting it back in play. Haley doesn’t have as much experience in that kind of a match, and she had a hard time lasting through the long points. Haley didn’t win that one, but she’ll be much more prepared next time she sees a player like that.
At #1 doubles, we started slow. Down 1-4, we needed to wake up after an early morning hour long bus ride. We did just that. Too late for the first set, we lost that one, but took charge in the second set. We outplayed them on the base line and in the net and forced the third set tiebreaker. We played well there too, but missed a couple volleys in the net and one too many groundstrokes. We played well enough to win, but just missed one or two shots that would have swung it our way. We lost the tiebreaker 6-10, and therefore the match. We’ll likely see these girls again and we’ll be ready. #2 doubles played a familiar match. We got ahead, and then let them win a couple games, got ahead and then let them win a couple games. We got to a 3rd set tiebreaker and came out ahead, but I think we all know we could have gotten that win with just two sets. Looking forward to tightening up a few shots during practice next week. Ava and Christel played #3 doubles and once again, I never even had to talk to them. They played aggressively and consistently, and won a decisive match 6-0, 6-0.