The Highland High girls tennis team went 2-2 at the Heather Bradshaw Invitational, which is tournament held Sept. 4 and 5 in Edwardsville before falling at Alton Marquette in a dual match last Thursday, Sept. 10.
At the Edwardsville tourney, Higland’s victories came on a 3-2 win over Roxana and a 4-1 triumph over O’Fallon’s B team, while the Lady Bulldogs’ defeats came on a 0-5 loss to St. Joseph’s Academy and a 2-3 setback to Edwardsville’s B team.
In the win over Roxana, Kate Camillo won easily in singles competition after downing Jessica Levan in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.
Winning in doubles for the Lady Bulldogs were the teams of Stephanie Olivares and Liz Arend, who outlasted Roxana’s Haley Milazzo and Sara Kreutztrager in a three-setter that went the distance, 5-7, 6-1, 10-8; and the pairing of Emily Gutzler and Madelyn Shively, who bounced Aria Langer and Ashley Alexander in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0.
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“Emily and Madelynn have a history as a tournament doubles team for us, and it was great to see the two of them start off with a victory,” said Highland coach Matt Pellock.
In the victory over O’Fallon B, Highland recorded one win in singles play and three victories in doubles.
Kirsten Plocher, the Lady Bulldogs’ No. 1 singles player, dominated Keara Sullivan in straight sets, 6-2,6-1.
Highland’s top doubles tandem of Arend and Olivares double-bageled their opponents.
The Lady Bulldogs’ other two doubles teams of Camillo and Elisabeth Meadows and Kampwerth and Mallory LaFrance also won convincingly in straight sets.
“A little bit of a slow start but it turned out to be a very dominant match for Beth and Katie,” Pellock said. “Like playing with Kirsten, Beth was all over the net and very successful, especially covering the middle court. Katie really used her athletic ability to keep rallies going and topspin to keep the ball low to her opponent. Anjuli has improved her doubles game early on. She was very strong at putting shots away at net and forced multiple return errors off of her first serves.”
In the loss to St. Joseph’s Academy, four of Highland’s losses came in straight defeats.
At the top doubles position, Plocher and Meadows were edged in a three-set marathon by a St. Joseph duo.
In the defeat to Edwardsville, the Lady Bulldogs received wins in doubles competition from the tandems of Arend and Olivares, who outlasted their foes in a three-set epic over Grace Trimpe and Anna Holland, 6-4, 2-6, 11-9; and Shively and Gutzler, who bested Alyssa Wilson and Brown 6-4, 6-4.
“Madelynn and Mallory got a 6-4 6-4 win at 3 doubles,” Pellock said. “That was a nice effort to stay consistent throughout and as the second win of the weekend for Madelynn as she won both her matches. Mallory had some nice putaways and did well to keep points going. Liz and Stephanie finished their weekend strong, winning their final three doubles matches. They did well to close a tight match against Roxana at two doubles, winning in a third set tiebreaker. Winning a close match was important for them by giving them a boost of confidence to end the first day of the tournament.”
Also at No. 1 singles, Highland’s Plocher battled tooth and nail and into extra play before finally succumbing to Noni Updike of Edwardsville by scores of 4-6, 6-2, 10-12.
“Kirsten played some nice singles on day two,” Pellock said. “ She found her first singles win at number 1 against O’Fallon, then a hard-fought battle against Edwardsville, almost getting a great comeback win in the third-set tiebreaker.”
In a 2-7 loss to Alton Marquette, Arend scored both wins for the Lady Bulldogs, and she and Olivares played some of the best doubles of the year in a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Highland’s doubles tournament was called off halfway through the tourney due to inclement weather.