From Staff Reports
Washington Times Herald
The Washington girls’ tennis team won its third match of the season Wednesday afternoon, and look to be getting momentum as they head into the sectional.
The Hatchets (3-2) defeated Loogootee (0-10) 4-1 at Lena Dunn Elementary School behind a balanced team effort.
Washington opened up with victories at both No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches.
In No. 1 doubles, Rachel Chattin-Kayla Mercer defeated Michala Beasley-Hannah Walters 6-1, 6-0.
In No. 2 doubles, Amber Showalter-Rebecca Guthrie beat Paige Schaefer-Ashley Jones 6-1, 6-4. Chelsea Brown defeated Erin Nelson in a hard fought 6-3,
6-3 victory at No. 2 singles and Audrey Rogers bested Tara Pennington by a score of 6-0, 7-5 in No. 3 singles.
“I thought we played pretty well,” said Washington coach Kevin Stallman. “I thought our doubles teams had real good matches. All three singles players played well. I think we’re getting to the point at midseason where we are getting stronger and stronger, and I think we are.”
The lone victory for the Lions was at No. 1 singles. Despite dropping the first set 7-5, Emily Bateman won the next two sets (6-4, 6-3) to defeat Washington’s Brittany Pierson in a match that lasted nearly two hours.
“Being a freshman, she (Bateman) hits the ball really well, but she’s still learning how to play tennis and make shots,” said Loogootee coach Mike Tippery. “She got out to a 3-0 lead in the first set, but she got impatient and tried to end the set too early. Washington’s No. 1 player (Pierson) did a good job of working her way back in and winning that first set. Once Emily was able to work her opponent around she was able to create shots for herself.”
In reserve matches, Washington’s Marlee Stoner defeated Emma Walters (8-2); Washington’s Baylee Wildman defeated Shayna Shuffle (8-1); Washington’s Miriam Ibara defeated Kaitlyn Dickens (8-0); Washington’s Kelly Aldrich defeated Moriah Bussinger (8-2).
With a young team there have been growing pains for the winless Loogootee squad, but Tippery said he thinks future success could depend on how the team starts each match at a high level.
“We got off to kind of a slow start in singles, but played really good second sets, and Emily obviously finished it off in the third set,” Tippery said.
“The same thing held through at No. 2 doubles - we got off to a slow start in general and put together good sets. In tennis you have to put together two good sets in order to win the match.”
Now a match above .500, Stallman said he’d like to see his team continue to move forward toward the postseason.
“We have to make sure we’re ready mentally every time we come out to play tennis,” Stallman said. “We need to make sure we’re focused on what we’re working on and that every single day we’re getting better and better. We’ve got a good chance at winning our sectional.”