After a painful 5-4 conference loss to Belleville East, the OTHS girls’ tennis team rebounded nicely this past weekend, going 3-1 in the Southern Illinois Duals. The Lady Panthers recorded victories over Normal University High, Triad and Althoff while suffering only one setback against Columbia (MO) Rockbridge.
Facing off against Belleville East in their first match of the past week, the O’Fallon girls came close to upending the Lancers but critical points were lost in both singles and doubles play that resulted in the narrow loss. Belleville East’s No. 1 and No. 2 players scored straight-set victories over O’Fallon’s Mackenzie Shelton and Katie Halwachs, but Mandy Shreiber and Miley Brunner reversed the trend. Shreiber defeated Lauren Cowlich in a hard fought 6-3, 6-4 victory while Brunner cruised to victory at No. 4 singles, blasting Belleville East’s Lauren Buscher 6-0 and 6-2. The two teams split the final two singles matches, Belleville East’s Carolyn Kriegshauser defeating Kate Macaluso 2-6 and 3-6 but Grace Lindsay picking up the Panthers with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Maddie Buscher.
With the two team deadlocked at 3-3 entering doubles play, Belleville East secured the team victory by winning the No. 1 and No. 2 matches. O’Fallon’s only doubles victory was earned by Shelton and Halwachs, who defeated Maddie Hamilton and Susan Shin in a three-set marathon – 3-6, 6-4, 10-5.
The Lady Panthers picked up the pace to open the Southern Illinois Duals with an opening round 5-2 win over Normal University High. The O’Fallon girls won four of their five singles matches against their central Illinois opponents. Katie Halwachs began the string of victories with a three-set triumph over Abby Tolten. After being soundly defeated 6-1 in the first set, Halwachs roared back to take the second set 6-2 and completed the comeback with a 10-6 win in the third set. Freshman Miley Brunner continued her excellent run on the courts with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Celis Lim, and Kate Macaluso wrapped the productive singles portion of the match with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Irene Park.
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University High also won the No. 1 doubles match, but the Panthers’ No. 2 and No. 3 teams kept O’Fallon comfortably in the lead. Abbey Byrnside and Eiley Fritz teamed up to win 7-5 and 6-1 over Katie Feely and Stephanie Chow. Amanda Hair and Alisha Lester also picked up a win by outpointing Chrole Benjamin and Deanna Trosino, 6-1, 6-1.
Columbia Rockbridge proved too strong in O’Fallon’s second match of the tournament. The Missouri girls shut out the Lady Panthers 5-0, but Coach Erin Thoman’s squad recovered quickly against Triad, pounding the Knights 6-1 to even their tournament record. Katie Halwachs moved up to No. 1 singles and absorbed the Panthers’ only loss. Mady Shreiber, Grace Lindsay and Abbey Byrnside cruised to singles wins in straight sets. Thoman elected to scramble her doubles teams against Triad and the new faces in new spots paid off. Miley Brunner and Kate Macaluso won at No. 1 over Catherine Catalano and Christine Catalano, 6-3 and 6-0. Mackenzie Shelton and Emily Fritz teamed up for a straight-set win over Suess and Hefferly while the OTHS tandem of Amanda Hair and Alisha Lester combined for a 6-3, 6-4 win over Gillian Rockwell and Caitlyn Smith.
The O’Fallon girls picked up their 10th win of the 2016 campaign with a narrow 4-3 victory over Althoff. The two squads split the singles matches with O’Fallon wins coming from Miley Brunner and Kate Macaluso. The Lady Panthers were able to pull out the team win thanks to doubles wins by Grace Lindsay and Mady Shreiber along with Amanda Hair and Alisha Lester.
The O’Fallon girls will be playing three consecutive conference matches in the coming days with the Southwestern Conference tournament showdown set for next Friday and Saturday, Oct. 7-8, at Collinsville.