For the Greenbacks girls’ tennis team, following 1st place at Lyons with 2nd at the Hillsboro Invitational might seem like a letdown, but nothing could be further from the truth. On Tuesday, September 3, the girls competed in the tougher six-team tournament and outpaced every team except Hesston. The Swathers garnered 41 points to Pratt’s 26, followed by Haven (24), Hillsboro (21), Collegiate (20) and Nickerson (18). The 2nd place team finish improved on last year’s 3rd place behind Collegiate and Hesston.
Pratt’s young singles entries had the toughest outings, both going 1-2 for 5th place finishes. At the #1 singles spot, junior Ellie Brehm fought hard against Hesston’s Brubacher and Collegiate’s Cody, losing both matches 4-8. In her final match, Brehm bested Haven’s Ray 8-0 to wrap up 5th. In similar fashion, junior Madi Mayberry lost to Hesston’s Miller 6-8 and Collegiate’s Do 3-8 before winning her final match against Glanzer from Hillsboro 8-0.
Of their performances, Coach Larry Kahmeyer said, “Both Ellie and Madi are growing exponentially every meet. I’m seeing huge improvements in consistency and shot selection. The girls were in every match and most games were reaching deuce. I’m very encouraged with how they are coming along.”
The doubles teams of Lauren McClain/Jade Hoover and Allicia Hall/EleeHampton brought in the lion’s share of team points.
Hall and Hampton, at the #2 doubles spot, went 2-1 for 3rd place and fell a tie-breaker short of being tournament champions. Up 7-5, 40-30 to Hesston’s entry, the girls lost the see-saw match in a tiebreaker. The tough loss dropped them out of finals contention, but they came back strong to thump Nickerson 8-0 for 3rd.
McClain and Hoover, at the #1 position, bettered their teammates’ finish, tearing through three opponents en route to a 1st place finish. Defeating Hesston 8-4 and Collegiate 8-2, the duo faced Haven’s aggressive team for the championship. Pulling ahead 4-1, the girls coasted to an 8-3 decisive win to pocket gold.
“I was heartbroken for Allicia and Elee,” said Kahmeyer. “To have match point in your hands, only to see it slip away is tough. Their final match would’ve been easier, so I know they could’ve taken 1st if they survived the tiebreaker. It wouldn’t have changed the team outcome, but for their sake, it would’ve been nice to win that one. Still, they had moments of impressive tennis, so I’m encouraged.”
Of McClain and Hoover, Kahmeyer said, “Lauren and Jade really put it together today. They gave up very few games and played some decent competition, so that speaks well of where they are…and can be. They are both strong in the backcourt and are getting better at the net, so I know they can be a solid team. This was Lauren’s fourth appearance at this tournament. In her first three years, she brought home 3rd place medals, so it was great that Jade could help her secure a gold medal her senior year.”
Page 2 of 2 - The Greenback girls now have a break in the schedule before hosting an Invitational on September 14.