The Highland tennis Lady Bulldogs won all three dual matches in dominant fashion before going on to take third place at the Robert Logan Memorial Tennis Tournament in Alton on Saturday.
First on Monday, Sept. 11, Highland shut out host Waterloo 9-0. Next, on Tuesday, Sept. 12, HHS swatted host Collinsville 7-2. Then on Thursday, the Bulldogs bested nemesis Triad 7-2.
Finally on Saturday, Highland earned third place at the Robert Logan Tournament in Alton.
Robert Logan Tournament
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Highland placed third behind Triad and host Alton. Triad edged Alton by a single point, 46-45, for the team title.
This tournament is now known as the Robert Logan Tournament to honor the girls tennis coach who passed away last fall after a battle with cancer. It holds a special meaning for HHS coach Matt Pellock, because he played Logan in high school during his senior year in a three-set state qualifier match, and the two of them later became great coaching friends.
Pellock said he was happy with this finish, knowing that his team was missing a few of their girls that would normally play in the tournament. But it was good experience for the team’s freshmen players to step in and fill those spots, he said.
“This had a little different vibe for us, as usually we are facing many sectional teams, but we discovered the day before that we have moved to the Centralia Sectional,” Pellock said. “This is a 10-player tournament, and Triad had good depth that won them the tournament after getting first place at the lower doubles and singles spots. We did have some great results in this tournament.”
Highland’s biggest highlight of the weekend came from sophomore Taylor Fleming, who normally is the Bulldogs’ No. 2 player, but she stepped up and earned third place in the No. 1 singles flight.
“Taylor played three rounds of some of the best singles we have seen in our program,” Pellock said. “She played a flawless match against two-time state qualifier Shelby Jones of Alton Marquette”
After dropping the first game, Fleming reeled off the next 12 games in a row to take the match decisively, 6-1, 6-0.
“A perfect game plan was executed from Taylor,” Pellock said. “She matched Jones from the baseline, and then executed short slice shots to force Jones to miss, or pass Jones when she had to come to the net.”
Next up for Fleming was Collinsville’s Cain, who was the best player in the tournament. Fleming battled toe to toe with Cain in the second set, but Cain took the match 7-5.
Cain went on to become the individual champion.
Fleming third-place match was against Triad’s No. 1 player, Meghan Dulaney.
Pellock said it may have Fleming’s most impressive performance.
“(Fleming) had the tougher road to get to that match, and yet was able to compete throughout this match, in high heat against a good No. 1 player,” he said. “Dulaney was wearing down in the second set, and Taylor was able to use that and put pressure on her to extend a rally. Once Taylor won the second set 7-5, Dulaney could not keep up any longer, and Taylor won a dominant tiebreaker. An outstanding day, defeating possibly the two best singles players in the Althoff Sectional.”
Fleming completed her day by winning the sportsmanship award for her great demeanor throughout the day.
Senior Kirsten Plocher and sophomore Kate Feldmann were able to win the No. 1 doubles flight.
“They had to beat both Triad and Jerseyville’s one doubles teams and did so pretty convincingly, 6-2, 6-3 and 6-1, 6-4,” Pellock said. “They are becoming very methodical in their doubles and proving themselves as a dominant duo.”
Also placing for Highland were Ashley Basden, who moved up to three singles and took second place; the No. 2 doubles team of freshmen Sydney Parkerson and Sydney Basler, fourth place; and the No. 3 doubles pairing of freshmen Abby Bowers and Hannah Geest, fourth place.
HHS 7, Triad 2
Highland won five of the singles matches and two of the three doubles matches.
“Tremendous team effort against the program that has had our number for years,” Pellock said. “The girls showed great toughness in the singles, and they were able to clinch the win with five singles wins. There was no give-in by us in the long rallies on an abnormally hot day. It was something we talked about before the match and what I was most proud to see from the team.”
At No. 2 singles, Fleming scored a big comeback win after being down 1-5 in the 10-point third-set tiebreaker. Pellock said she played some of the best singles tennis of her season to come back and take the match by scores of 3-6, 7-5, 10-6.
Also winning in singles for the Bulldogs were Feldmann (6-2, 6-4), Arianna Kampwerth (6-1, 6-2), Mia Walters (6-2, 6-3) and Basden (6-2, 6-3).
“(Feldmann) played a tough opponent at three singles, but won with solid groundstrokes and well-executed shots when the rallies lasted long,” Pellock said. “Our 4 (Kampwerth), 5 (Walters) and 6 (Basden) singles managed their matches well with very consistent tennis. They track down every shot, and it wears down opponents. Their ability to do play tough at those positions is a great asset to our team.”
At No. 1 doubles, Plocher and Feldmann won easily, 6-3, 6-1.
“When we hit with good depth, both (Feldmann) and (Plocher) excel more than most teams at taking shots out of the air and finding the gaps in the court to hit to,” Pellock said. “That really worked for them against Triad and they came up with two impressive comebacks down 15-40 the final two games to win those last two.”
The No. 2 doubles tandem of Fleming and Walters pulled out a 6-4, 7-5 victory.
“(Fleming) and (Walters) played some of their best doubles this season, doing very well in the backcourt, and executing at the net at key points,” Pellock said. “Triad’s No. 1 and 3 players are both good ball strikers, making that an extra good sign that both (Fleming) and (Walters) could hit with them as well as they did.”
HHS 7, Collinsville 2
Highland again took five of the singles matches and two of the three doubles competitions.
Dominating in straight sets in singles were Fleming (6-0, 6-1), Feldmann (6-3, 6-0), Kampwerth (6-3, 6-0), Walters (6-1, 6-1), Basden (6-1, 6-0).
Victorious in doubles were Fleming and Walters (6-0, 6-4) and Basden and Kampwerth (6-1, 6-2).
HHS 9, Waterloo
The battle of the Bulldogs was not much of a tussle as Highland conquered all nine matches easily in straight sets.
Scoring easy wins in singles were Plocher (6-2, 6-1), Fleming (6-0-, 6-0), Feldmann (6-0, 6-2), Kampwerth (6-1, 6-1), Walters (6-0-, 6-0), Basden (6-0, 6-0).
Lopsided doubles wins were posted by Plocher and Feldmann (6-0, 6-2), Fleming and Walters (6-1, 6-2) and Basden and Kampwerth (6-0, 6-3).