BELLEVILLE — Competing in a Belleville city varsity tennis match for the first time, Belleville East senior Kaylyn Dresch responded like a seasoned veteran when the pressure was on Thursday against Althoff.
Dresch fought off a match point in a third-set tiebreaker to defeat Emily Struckhoff 6-3, 2-6, 13-11 in the No. 4 singles match, as she helped lead the Lancers to a 7-2 victory.
Plagued by injuries to two of its top four players during the early part of the 2013 season, second-year Lancers coach Ross Peters has been forced to move up talented, but inexperienced players onto his varsity.
As a result, East entered Thursday's showdown with a 1-4 dual-match record.
But in near-perfect conditions, the Lancers responded with perhaps their best performance of the season.
"It (the season) hasn't gone as I had hoped or expected it would, but the attitude and effort of the girls has been very good. With the injuries, we're just inexperienced at the varsity level in some spots,'' Peters said. "Kaylyn (Dresch) winning at No. 4 was important for us, because it gave us a 4-2 lead going into doubles instead of being tied 3-3.''
Rebecca McIsaac, Sophie Von Hatten and Kaycie Dresch also posted singles wins for East, while Emma Melichar and Kathryn Wuller won in singles for Althoff (2-3).
A freshman, Melichar defeated Hannah Bastar 6-4, 6-2 in No. 3 singles, while Wuller, a senior, rallied from a 5-1 second-set deficit to defeat Katie Parsons 7-5, 7-5 at No. 5.
Althoff coach Rusty Parker said he was pleased with his team's performance.
"Actually I'm thrilled. We were one point away from going into doubles with the score tied 3-3. Throughout the lineup I thought we played well,'' Parker said. "Kathryn did a nice job of fighting back after being down 5-1 in the second set and I thought Emma played very well. She has a lot poise and her groundstrokes are just solid. She's a backboard. She keeps the ball in play.''
Leading 4-2, the Lancers dominated in doubles. Expected to be one of the top doubles teams in the area, East seniors Savannah Martin and McIsaac ran their record to 11-1 with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Madelyn Skinner and Melichar at No. 1 doubles.
"They are both power players and when they're on, they are fun to watch play doubles,'' Peters said of his top tandem. "This is a big win for us. Hopefully we can get a little more confidence and continue to improve.''
Kaylyn Dresch and Bastar won the No. 2 doubles match, while Kaycie Dresch and Morgan Smith combined to win at No. 3.