Belleville East’s girls tennis team runs too deep for a lot of opponents.
The Lancers are now 5-1 in dual meets in addition to winning the championship of the Moline Invitational last weekend. Along the way, they’ve lost just five sets.
A young and talented Althoff team got wins in the No.1 singles and doubles matches, but lost to the visiting Lancers, 7-2 on Thursday.
“We’re good at the top, but we have good players in Nos. 4 through 11,” said East coach Ross Peters. “We’ll do well because we’ll win a lot on the lower end of the court.”
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The most competitive match of the day was at No. 1 singles.
East freshman Chloe McIsaac and sophomore Isabel Burwitz play regular challenge matches for the Lancers’ top spot. McIsaac won the privilege for Thursday and was matched with Althoff’s two-time state qualifier, Emma Melichar.
McIsaac twice pushed Melichar to set point twice in the first set before eventually falling 7-5, 6-2.
“I was really pleased that Chloe gave herself an opportunity, especially in that first set,” Peters said. “She had two set points and on one of them she came to the net, was aggressive and took her shot and just missed a high backhand volley wide. I was proud of her to make a big-time play in a big-time moment. She just happened to miss it.”
Melichar said the East freshman’s power posed a challenge, but she countered by hitting to McIsaac’s backhand side.
“She hits the ball hard — a little harder than I usually see – and her ball has a good slice,” Melichar said. “I have a strong backhand so I tend to hit the ball cross-court anyway. I think that helped me.”
Melichar, who qualified for the Illinois state tournament as a singles player last season and as part of a doubles tandem as a freshman, also helped herself with consistency.
“I can never count her out because even though she was down most of the first set, she was able to come back,” Althoff coach Rusty Parker said. “She can figure out as she goes along how to play against a number of different styles. She doesn’t get too high or too low, so she doesn’t tend to make many mistakes, and she just doesn’t quit. That’s why she’s so successful at this level.”
Melichar and partner Madelyn Skinner notched the Crusaders’ only other match victory at No. 1 doubles. The pair defeated East’s Kaycie Dresch and Rylan Lopez 6-2, 6-2.
Match at a glance
Lancers 6, Crusaders 3
No. 1: Emma Melichar (A) over Chloe McIsaac (E) 7-5, 6-2
No. 2: Isabel Burwitz (E) over Madelyn Skinner (A) 6-2, 6-0
No. 3: Rylan Lopez (E) over Olivia Melichar (A) 6-0, 6-1
No. 4: Morgan Smith (E) over Mary Nester (A) 6-0, 6-0
No. 5: Kaycie Dresch (E) over Lauren Borik (A) 6-1, 6-1
No. 6: Mary Zimmer (E) over Kaitlynn Borik (A) 6-1, 6-1
No. 1: E. Melichar/Skinner (A) over Rylan Lopez/Kaycie Dresch (E) 6-2, 6-2
No. 2: Zimmer/Kendall Patton (E) over O. Melichar/Nester (A) 6-0, 6-2
No. 3: Smith/Carolyn Kriegshauser (E) over Borik/Borik (A) 6-4, 6-1