The Highland High School girls tennis team was victorious in two of three matches in a four-day span last week.
First on Monday, Sept. 14, Highland swatted host Waterloo 7-2 in both teams’ Mississippi Valley Conference opener. The next day, the Lady Bulldogs traveled to Collinsville and upended the host Kahoks 7-2. Finally last Thursday, Triad came to Highland and defeated the host Lady Bulldogs 7-1 with one match postponed due to darkness.
HHS defeated Waterloo, 7-2
Highland conquered five of the six singles matches while also winning two of the three doubles matches.
“It was a good start to the conference season, we were able to get a 7-2 win,” said Highland coach Matt Pellock.
HHS’ five winners in singles competition were: senior Stephanie Olivares, 6-1, 6-2 over Megan Molinari; junior Elisabeth Meadows, 6-2, 6-1 over Lauren Heise; senior Elizabeth Arend, 6-1, 6-0 over Ellie Naumann; junior Anjuli Kampwerth, 6-1, 6-0 over Netemeyer; and sophomore Mallory LaFrance, 6-0, 6-0 over Frick.
In doubles play, Highland’s No. 2 team of Olivares and Arend whacked Waterloo’s Heise and Naumann, 6-0 6-1, and Kampwerth and senior Emily Gutzler downed Netemeyer and Frick, 6-3 and 6-1.
Highland’s one defeat in singles came at the No. 1 spot, where sophomore Kirsten Plocher fell in straight sets to Waterloo’s Jessica Molinari.
HHS’ top tandem of Plocher and Meadows took the lone loss in doubles as they fell to Jessica and Megan Molinari in a competitive straight-set match.
“We were able to control the other singles and doubles matches with some solid, consistent hitting,” Pellock said. “Stephanie (Olivares) extended rallies well to beat her opponent at the two spot. Beth’s (Meadows) confidence grew throughout her match in her approach to move forward to force errors and give her playable shots for her to put away at net. Liz (Arend) had a longer match, but controlled most points well, again forcing her opponent to have to rally with her. Anjuli (Kampwerth) and Mallory (LaFrance) were the more experienced players in their matches, and got a strong result because of that. At three doubles, Emily and Anjuli’s games were complimenting each other well, with Emily directing shots with some good precision, and Anjuli getting on top of the net with many opportunities for volleys.”
HHS defeated Collinsville, 7-2
The Lady Bulldogs captured four of the six singles matches and swept all three of the doubles matches.
“I thought we had a lot of our girls playing well in the win over Collinsville,” Pellock said.
At the top singles spot, Plocher bounced back nicely from a tight first two sets at 6-4, 4-6 to smash Collinsville’s Cain, 10-2, in the decisive set.
“Kirsten found some good tennis in an important singles win for her,” Pellock said. “Especially late going into the tiebreaker, she played very well against a talented freshman.”
Winning the other three singles matches in straight sets for the Lady Bulldogs were: Olivares, 6-0, 6-1 over Christopher; Meadows, 6-1, 7-5 over Thomas; and Arend, 6-2, 6-0 over Wenos.
“Stephanie (Olivares) cruised in her victory. It was probably one of the more relaxed wins of her career,” Pellock said. “She just focused on good strokes and that got her an easy win. Beth (Meadows) had a struggle in the middle of her match, but came back strong and rallied back for a straight-set win. Liz (Arend) came through with a nice win as well to get us four singles wins.”
Bringing out the brooms to sweep the doubles matches for the Lady Bulldogs were: Plocher and Meadows, who swung by Cain and Christopher, 6-2, 6-4; Olivares and Arend, who trounced Thomas and Heinlein, 6-1, 6-0; and Kampwerth and Kate Camillo, who rebounded after dropping the first set, 5-7, to Wenos and Lucas to take the final two sets by scores of 6-1 and 10-7.
“One of our best overall doubles performances so far this
season came at 1 doubles,” Pellock said. “The last three games of Kirsten (Plocher) and Beth’s (Meadows) match was some of the most consistent and well-played doubles of the season, and reconfirmed some of the expectations early on for this doubles team.Stephanie (Olivares) and Liz (Arend) are almost always the more experienced team in their two doubles matches, and they made easy work for a back-to-back doubles wins to start their week. Katie (Camillo) and Anjuli (Kampwerth) also came through with a tiebreaker win, getting off to a nice lead in the breaker that helped them keep away some of the pressures that can come into a close finish.”
Highland’s two losses came at No. 5 singles where Kampwerth lost a tough two-setter, 6-7, 5-7, to Heinlein and at 6 singles where LaFrance dropped a straight-set match to Schlotter.
Triad defeats HHS, 6-1
The visiting Knights won five of the six singles competitions. Triad had also won two of the three doubles matches before the third one was postponed due to darkness.
“A mostly lopsided score in this match was not so much the case when considering how tight a lot of these matches were,” Pellock said. “That should not dismay us from thinking we have a chance to get some of those wins if we get these match-ups again in the conference tournament in a few weeks. We had three singles matches went to a deciding tiebreaker, and we had two tough losses in those.”
Kampwerth was the lone victor in singles as she survived a back-and-forth three-set marathon by scores of 6-4, 2-6, 10-8.
“Anjuli had an exciting 10-8 finish to get an impressive singles win at 5 singles,” Pellock said.
Highland dropped two other singles matches that went to exciting, deciding tiebreakers as Olivares, finally fell to Katalano, 3-6, 6-2, 5-10 while Arend battled long and hard before finally succumbing to the other Catalano twin, 6-4, 2-6, 10-12.
In addition, Plocher and Meadows also were edged in a ultra-tight three set-match and Olivares and Arend were leading the Catalano twins, 6-4 and the second set was knotted up at 6-6 before the match was postponed due to darkness Pellock said the hope is to finish the match before the conference tournament, which is scheduled for Oct. 9 and 10 at Triad.