After being shut out by O’Fallon in its season opener and then beginning the Heather Bradshaw Invitational at Edwardsville with a loss to Herrin, the Highland High School girls tennis team bounced back nicely to win four matches in a row.
The Lady Bulldogs began the hot stretch with a 3-2 win over O’Fallon’s JV before finishing the tournament at Edwardsville with a 3-2 victory over Mississippi Valley Conference rival Mascoutah.
Highland followed that up by doubling up Greenville 6-3 on Tuesday of last week before edging out Alton 5-4 a day later.
Highland beats Alton 5-4
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
After both team split the six singles matches last Wednesday, the Bulldogs won two of the three doubles matches to earn the overall team triumph.
Scoring wins for Highland in singles were Anjuli Kampwerth, Kate Feldmann and Ashley Basden. Kampwerth went the distance to prevail by scores of 7-5, 1-6, 10-8. Feldmann had to rebound after dropping the first set 3-6, but she was able to to do so with 6-4, 10-8 wins in the final two sets. Basden had the easiest singles match on the day as she won in straight set, 6-4, 6-4.
In doubles, Feldmann and Taylor Fleming aced their opponents 8-0 at the No. 2 spot while Kampwerth and Mia Walters doubled up their foes 8-4 at the third position.
“There were some tough matches in high heat,” Highland coach Matt Pellock said. “A couple late wins in singles made the difference in getting a win. Kate and Anjuli were the big performers for us, getting four of the five wins. Both battled to the end in their singles. Anjuli came back late in the first set and Kate had yet another long fought singles match back to back nights. Ashley was solid again at number 6. Kate/Taylor had similar success that Kirsten (Plocher) and Beth (Meadows) had Tuesday. They were excellent at positioning the ball and taking control of easy shots at net. I am very excited for their quick progress so early.”
HHS defeats Greenville 6-3
Against the Comets on Tuesday of last week, Highland won five of the six singles matches before taking one of the three doubles competitions.
“The girls came up big in singles and did a great job in tiebreakers. They lost out on some huge tiebreakers late at Nos. 1, 4 and 5 singles,” Pellock said.
Junior Kirsten Plocher set the tone at the top spot as she batted tooth and nail to survive a three-set thriller over Greenville’s Abby Gaffner by scores of 4-6, 6-3, 11-9.
“Kirsten played smart tennis in the biggest points of the tiebreaker in what was an important win right off the start of her season,” Pellock said.
Also scoring wins in singles competition were Kampwerth, who swung by Chloe Schaufelberger 6-3, 6-4; Feldmann, who outlasted Noelle Beans 6-7, 7-6, 10-6; Ariana Kampwerth, who defeated Mathea Kurt-Shaw 6-4, 7-5; and Basden, who prevailed over Abby Barber 6-4, 4-6, 11-9.
Beth Meadows suffered the lone defeat in singles, but it certainly was not due to lack of effort, as she fought until the very end before finally falling by scores of 6-2, 3-6, 3-10.
“Kate had a marathon 2 hour and 30 minute singles match that went three tiebreakers; that was a a gutsy performance and victory,” Pellock said. “Some great tennis from Ariana and Ashley to win close matches. Those are crucial spots and they came through for us.”
Winning in doubles was the tandem of Plocher and Meadows, who aced Gaffner and Sam Siefken 8-0.
“Kirsten and Beth won big in doubles,” Pellock said. “Greenville struggled to keep shots deep, which allowed us to pursue the net often. They kept focus and looked strong.”
HHS goes 2-1 at Edwardsville Tournament
After falling 1-4 to Herrin to open the two-day Heather Bradshaw invite on Sept. 2, Highland bounced back to edged both O’Fallon’s JV and Mascoutah by counts of 3-2.
In the win over Mascoutah, Basden scored the singles victory after toppling McKenna Lenter in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
The Bulldogs went on to claim two of the three doubles matches. At No. 2 doubles, Anjuli Kampwerth and Mia Walters outlasted Emma Cook and Page Engelage 4-6, 6-4, 11-9 while Destany Morland and Mallory LaFrance easily bested Abby Spitler and Ava Meed 6-1, 6-3 at the second spot.
“Team depth came through in this match,” Pellock said.
In the victory over O’Fallon’s JV, Meadows and LaFrance won both singles matches, and Anjuli Kampwerth and Morland as successful in doubles.
Meadows was leading Kami Hostetter 3-0 when Hostetter defaulted the match due to an ankle injury. LaFrance persevered to prevail in a match that went th distance with LaFrance coming out on top of Maeve Rost by scores of 2-6, 6-3, 10-3.
Anjuli Kampwerth and Morland battled all the way to survive a three-setter over Molly Keim and Georgi Spory by the final scores of 6-2 4-6 10-5.
In addition, Feldmann and Fleming battled to go the distance before finally succumbing.
“There were lot of close matches and the girls did well to battle all the way until the end of each match,” Pellock said.
In the loss to Herrin, Highland’s only triumph came in doubles where Basden and Fleming outlasted Bryndle Burks and Kate Davis by scores of 6-2, 6-7, 10-4.