Competing in the second of five meets in a nine-day stretch, the Pratt High girls’ tennis team took to the road and headed for Maize South on Tuesday. After five hours on the hot courts facing strong competition, the girls finished the day 4th out of eight teams.
Maize South Black and Winfield tied with 24 points, Wichita Northwest nailed down 3rd with 19, followed closely by Pratt with 16. Rounding out the rest of the field were Maize South Gold (13), Goddard Eisenhower (9), Hutch Trinity (6), and Collegiate (5).
Assessing the results, head coach Larry Kahmeyer said, ‘It was a serviceable day – not our best, but a pretty good performance in a strong field. I thought we were just a little flat and perhaps tired from Saturday’s meet. We lost three tie-breakers matches, bumping us out of a chance for 3rd.”
Facing some talented #1 singles players, Adele Loomis went 2-2 in wrapping up 5th place. Facing Winfield’s Sarnacki proved a tough introduction to the afternoon as Loomis never got her footing and dropped the match 0-8. Taking the first-round loss in stride, Loomis regrouped to storm back in an 8-3 victory over Enslinger from Hutch Trinity. Loomis’ final pool-play match pitted her against the very strong Schuler playing for Maize South Black.
In a slugfest that gave little indication of the final outcome, Loomis lost 2-8 but played some of her best tennis of the day. With a pool-play record of 1-2, Loomis would face Goddard Eisenhower’s Westbrook for 5th. Loomis fell behind 2-1 to Westbrook’s off-speed consistent game, but made some adjustments to pull away for an 8-4 victory.
“Adele faced some talent today,” said Kahmeyer. “She had to play the eventual 2nd and 3rd place finishers. She was a little off for her first match, but after a warm-up run and some stretching, she settled in and played really well and I don’t think she left any chances out on the court. Even though it was a loss to the Maize South girl, she was hitting some great shots. Adele feeds off of power hitters and I was especially pleased to see her make some adjustments to the softer, get-it-back game from the Goddard player.”
Following up their dominating performance on Saturday proved to be a challenge for the #1 doubles team of Lauren McClain and Dani Williams. Clearly not on their best games, the pair still put together a 2-2 day for 4th place.
Opening with a shaky 8-4 win against Goddard Eisenhower in the first pool-play match, the girls faced Maize South Black in the second. Down 4-7, McClain and Williams powered back to tie the match at 8-all, then jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the tie-breaker. Unable to put together the final two points, the Pratt duo lost a heart-breaker that proved to be a harbinger for the remainder of the day.
Page 2 of 2 - Responding with a decisive 8-1 win over Hutch Trinity, the girls found themselves across the net from Maize South Gold’s team. Pratt’s early 4-1 lead dwindled to a 6-7 affair where the girls had to tie things up to stay alive. Again finding themselves at 8-all, McClain and Williams fell behind 0-4 in the tiebreaker, won two points, then lost the final three to end their day.
“This was an up and down day for Lauren and Dani and tortuous for a coach,” said Kahmeyer. “They had one of the best doubles teams on the ropes, ready for a knock-out punch, and they just couldn’t put it together. To give Maize South some credit, they put together some great points in an heroic effort. It wasn’t so much that our girls lost it, but they took it back. It’s tough to rebound from that kind of loss, but they managed another win, then ran out of steam in the final match. I was proud of their effort – it’s just one of those ‘what if” types of days.”
Again providing the highlight for the day was sophomore Jade Hoover playing #2 singles. Running the table for a 4-0, first place day might appear easy on paper but was anything but. Down 0-3 against Maize South Black’s Maddie Loomis,
Hoover regrouped to put together a tough 8-4 victory, then pulled off two easier wins over Goddard Eisenhower (8-1) and Hutch Trinity (8-0). Playing for the championship match pitted Hoover Cavallaro, a net-rushing, court-covering dynamo from Wichita Northwest. Down in most the match, Hoover began hitting some lobs and passing shots that chipped away at Cavallaro’s lead. Evening things at 7-all, 5-all in the tie-breaker, Hoover put together two critical points to complete her sweep with a 8-7 (7-5) victory. Hoover remains unbeaten on the season and carry’s an impressive 13-0 record to Larned on Thursday.
“Jade continues to amaze me,” said Kahmeyer. “She was struggling with some emotions today and I’m so proud of how she performed in the face of them. She is such a competitor and can draw from some very deep wells of concentration in tough times. I’m impressed with how much she’s exceeded my expectations. She’s the backbone of the team right now.”
The #2 doubles team of Allicia Hall and Elee Hampton found themselves in deep water, yet still managed a 1-3 day good for 7th place.