The Highland tennis Lady Bulldogs dropped only one individual match en route to posting three one-sided victories in as many days last week to boost their season dual-match record to 11-3.
First, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, Highland shut out the visiting Granite City Warriors 9-0. Next, on Wednesday, Sept. 20, the Bulldogs blanked the host Mount Vernon Rams 9-0. Finally, on Thursday, Highland traveled to Alton Marquette and buried the Explorers 8-1.
Out of Highland’s impressive 11-3 head-to-head record, the three losses have only come against Class 2A schools Belleville East, New Trier and Alton.
This week, the Bulldogs traveled to Roxana on Monday and Mascoutah on Tuesday before traveling to Civic Memorial on Thursday.
HHS 8, Marquette 1
Against the Explorers, Highland swept all six singles matches and took two of the three doubles matches.
Highland senior Kirsten Plocher, helped the set the tone from the top singles position for the team victory after dispatching of Marquette’s Shelby Jones in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1 singles.
“This was a big match for Kirsten playing Shelby Jones for the fourth time in her career, and I think she knew this time was her best chance for a win,” Highland coach Matt Pellock said. “She played a solid first set, and after dropping a couple games at the end of the second to go from 5-2 to 5-4, she played an incredibly tough deuce point to get the 6-4 win.
At No. 2 singles, sophomore Taylor Fleming fought to the distance to pull out a 6-3, 5-7, 10-6 win.
“Taylor pulled off a tough win at No. 2, getting through the match with a slight fever,” Pellock said. “One of the few times this season where she lost a lead in a set, but she played a fantastic tiebreaker to get a big win.”
Sophomore Kate Feldmann trounced her opponent 6-1, 6-0 at the No. 3 spot. No. 4 senior Mia Walters scored a convincing 6-2, 6-1 victory. Fifth-seeded senior Arianna Kampwerth dominated her foe, 6-2, 6-1, and sophomore Ashley Basden came within a single game double-bageling her competitor, 6-1, 6-0.
Due to some ankle tenderness, Plocher did not play doubles, and Highland’s only loss of the entire match — and the week — came at No. 1 doubles.
Winning in doubles action were Feldmann and senior Destany Morland, who pulled out a 9-8 win at the No. 2 doubles spot, and Basden and Kampwerth, who blitzed their opponents, 6-2, 6-1.
“I was really pleased to see Destany (Morland) do a nice job with Kate (Feldmann) at 2 doubles, especially towards the end of the set,” Pellock said. “Kate did great to extend rallies throughout the match, and Destany really came through with good net play the final few games and into the tiebreaker. Arianna (Kampwerth) and Ashley (Basden) completed a dominant week of tennis.”
HHS 9, Mt. Vernon 0
On the Rams’ home courts, the Bulldogs were rude guests, sweeping all six singles matches in a lopsided straight sets while also winning the doubles matches by commanding margins.
Dominating in singles action were Plocher (6-3, 6-4), Fleming (6-0, 6-0), Feldmann (6-1, 6-1), Walters (6-1, 1-0 Default), Kampwerth (6-0, 6-1) and Basden (6-0, 6-0).
Winning handily in doubles competition were the top tandem of Plocher and Feldmann (10-3), the No. 2 team of Fleming and Walters (10-0), and the No. 3 pairing of Basden and Kampwerth (10-2).
“Mt. Vernon plays a lot of the schools we will see in our sectional. So it was important to get decisive wins, which we were able to accomplish,” Pellock said.
HHS 9, Granite City 0
At HHS, Highland swept all six singles matches again in a domineering straight sets and did the same in the three doubles matches as well.
Routing their Granite City Warrior opponents were Plocher (6-0, 6-1), Fleming (6-1, 6-0), Feldmann (6-2, 6-4), Walters (6-0, 6-0), Kampwerth (6-2, 6-1) and Basden (6-0, 6-1).
Blowing by their counterparts in doubles were Plocher and Feldmann (6-0, 6-1), Fleming and Walters (6-0, 6-0) and Basden and Kampwerth (6-0, 6-0).
“I thought this match was some of the best tennis I have seen from the team,” Pellock said. “Some of the most comfortable hitting, and completely in control the entire afternoon. The best serving day from Kirsten (Plocher) this season, and that really elevates the rest of her game when she is serving well.”