The Highland High School girls tennis team had another good stretch of tennis after besting three visiting non-conference opponents in as many days. First on Tuesday of last week, the Lady Bulldogs shut out Granite City 9-0. The next day, Highland doubled up Mount Vernon 6-3 before going on to post another 6-3 victory, this time over Alton Marquette on Thursday.
Going 3-0 last week boosted the Bulldogs’ season dual-match record up to 7-2. Highland’s only two defeats came to perennial area powers O’Fallon and Triad.
“The success of this week at this point in our season I think will really fuel us for some good tennis through to the finish,” Highland coach Matt Pellock said.
HHS beats Alton Marquette 6-3
The match was all tied up at 3-3 after the six singles matches, but the Bulldogs swept all three doubles matches to double up the Explorers for the team victory.
“Again our doubles teams stepped up and we got three wins and a sweep for the entire week,” Pellock said. “An outstanding job by our team as that was quite an accomplishment.”
Victorious in singles for HHS were No. 2 player Elisabeth Meadows, who swatted Anne Tassanari 6-0, 6-4; No. 3 Anjuli Kampwerth, who prevailed in a tough three-set match over Mary Kate Ventimiglia, 6-0, 2-6, 11-9; and No. 4 Kate Feldmann, who survived a tough three-setter over Abby Simonds, 6-0, 2-6, 11-9.
“It was huge that Anjuli held on to win her singles match and the big comeback by Kate in her singles match that kept us both in the match and kept the pressure off of us having to take all three doubles,” Pellock said.
Highland’s No. 1 player, Kirsten Plocher, also won the first set 6-0, but then fell short over the next two sets by scores of 4-6, 8-10 after several questionable and controversial calls on balls called out by her opponent, Shelby Jones.
But Plocher enacted some revenge in doubles as she teamed up with Meadows at the No. 1 position to crush Jones and Tassanari decisively in straight sets, 6-2 and 6-0.
“It was a bit of a strange start in this match where our top three all won 6-0 in the first set,”Pellock said. “Marquette was unsettled early on in these matches but definitely adjusted in the second sets. It would have been a nice boost for KP (Kirsten Plocher) to get that singles win with the last time playing Jones in last year’s match to qualify for state. After a couple close losses in singles, she was able to finish the week with her best doubles performance of the season. Her and Elisabeth played confident, consistent doubles against a top sectional opponent.”
At No. 2 doubles, Feldmann and Taylor Fleming also ousted Ventimiglia and Simonds in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2.
“Kate and Talylor went 5-1 in doubles during the week including the Alton invite, only losing to a returning state-qualifying doubles team from Jerseyville in the first match played at No. 1 doubles in Alton,” Pellock said. “They don’t give up on points. If they have a miscommunication error, they keep going for the ball and win countless points by finding a way to continue those types of points. They find opening in the courts and don’t give up many easy shots to their opponents, and that is leading to a great season for them.”
At the third doubles spot, Kampwerth and Mia Walters outlasted Maria Wendle and Allison Peuterbaugh, 1-6, 6-4, 11-9.
HHS beats Mount Vernon 6-3
The match was again deadlocked at 3-3 after singles play was finished, and again Highland swept all three doubles matches to take the team triumph by the count of 6-3.
At the top doubles spot, Plocher and Meadows beat Catie Raney and Priyanka Kaushal 8-6.
At the No. 2 doubles position, Feldmann and Fleming doubled up Morgan Conley and Elly Young 8-4.
And at No. 3 doubles, Kampwerth and Walters edged out Maddie McCoy and Shubhika Jain 9-7.
“Mount Vernon is a smart team and consistently challenges us which provides some close matches,” Pellock said. “The sweep in doubles was a great accomplishment for us. Doubles has been improving throughout the season and we played well at the end of these doubles matches. Good to see our No. 1 team pull out a tight doubles match after some close singles losses. KP served well the whole night, and Elisabeth was in a groove returning serve which made the difference in the final game to get the service break to win.”
Winning the three singles matches for the Bulldogs were Anjuli Kampwerth, a 6-0, 6-1 winner over Conley; Ariana Kampwerth, a 6-3, 6-2 victor over McCory; and Ashley Basden, who triumphed over Young 6-1, 6-0.
At the top singles spot, Plocher lost a tough-fought single match to Raney by scores of 6-4, 1-6, 5-10, while at No. 4 singles, Feldmann battled hard to the finish before finally falling in a back-and-forth tilt to Jain by scores of 4-6, 6-1, 8-10.
HHS beats Granite City 9-0
Highland had a much easier time with the Warriors after sweeping all nine matches — six singles and three doubles.
“The team was challenged to to get into rallies before trying to win points,” Pellock said. “Some issues in the singles have been losing points early due to unforced errors, and this match I wanted the focus to be on long points early on, to challenge Granite to rally or go for their shots first.”
Posting wins in singles for the Bulldogs were: Plocher, 6-3, 6-1 over Kourtney Singleton; Meadows, 6-0, 6-3 over Ashley Peck; Anjuli Kampwerth, 6-2, 7-6 over Maya Ware; Feldmann, 6-1, 6-1 over Kayla Bridick; Ariana Kampwerth, 6-1, 6-1 over Olivia Brinker; Basden, 6-3, 6-4 over Emma VanBuskirk.
Victorious in doubles for HHS were: Plocher and Meadows, 6-3, 6-4 over Singleton and Brinker; Feldmann and Fleming, 6-3, 6-1 over Ware and Bridick; and Anjuli Kampwerth and Walters, 6-1, 6-2 over Haylee Winn and Sarah Schnefke.