DUNLAP - GCMS tennis captured an impressive third place finish at last weekend’s Dunlap Invite, bouncing back from a 3-2 opening loss to Dunlap with 3-2 wins over Danville and Peoria Richwoods.
The Falcons No. 2 doubles duo Fiona Keigher/Holly Arends were flawless at the invite, moving to 7-1 on the season after winning two of their three matches in tough tiebreakers.
“Many times they had to come from behind to get the job done but never wavered in their ability to stay focused and continue playing their game,” head coach Cindy Petersen said.
No. 1 doubles Katy Neal/Andrea Worthington managed one win against the toughest competition, while taking all three matches to deuce play or a tiebreaker.
“They played with such intensity and execution that I haven’t seen them do this season,” Petersen said. “I was pleased to see that they never got down on themselves and kept moving their feet and using all the skills that they have been taught."
Classmates Grace O’Brien and Erika Painter, who are typically the No. 3 and 6 singles players, were forced to hold down the fort in the top two spots that day.
O’Brien even managed a 6-4/6-2 victory over her No. 1 Danville opponent, earning nothing but praise for her effort.
“(She) played mentally tough in all her matches throughout the day,” Petersen said.
Painter then added a win of her own in the No. 2 singles spot, defeating her Peoria Richwoods opponent 6-3/6-0.
“I have never seen two girls play with such heart and determination than these two young ladies,” Petersen said of O’Brien and Painter’s efforts. “They left everything they had on those courts."
Juniors Rose Williams and Sophie Hafer were 5-0 in the No. 3 doubles spot heading into the invite, and came away almost perfect if not for a tiebreaker loss to a tough Dunlap duo.
The two responded to the loss with dominant 6-2/6-3 and 6-0/6-1 wins over Danville and Peoria Richwoods to move to 7-1 overall.
“I was pleased to see that these two could mentally put aside the earlier loss and come back and defeat Danville in a very solid match,” Petersen said.
The team’s win over Danville was especially impressive, considering the team had defeated GCMS earlier in the week 6-3.
Then four of the seven losses during the invite went to a super 10 point tiebreaker, giving the Falcons even greater reason to feel proud of how well the team played.
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“I was so proud of our girls,” Petersen said. “They were in every match we played on Saturday and showed such guts and determination in both their wins and losses. They kept on smiling and running for shots all day. They never cease to amaze other teams five times bigger than us on how well we play on the courts. We received several compliments on the level of play our girls executed on Saturday. As their coach, I was smiling all day with pride.”
Every Falcon won at least one match throughout the day.
GCMS 14 Bloomington B 4
The Falcons defeated Bloomington’s B team 14-4 last Wednesday.
Rachel Harmet had the “match of the night, overcoming a 3-6 deficit to tie it at 8-8 and win the tiebreaker.
Grace O’Brien won three singles matches without giving up a score on her way to 8-0/8-0/8-0 wins.
The doubles teams swept the top six spots, with Rose Williams/Sophie Hafer, Grace O’Brien/Erika Painter and Talley Rouley/Kelsi Reynolds all winning 8-0.
Katy Neal/Andrea Worthington, Fiona Keigher/Holly Arends and Maddy Price/Bailey Salyards rounded out the doubles winners.
Other singles winners were Katy Neal, Holly Arends and Andrea Worthington winning the top three spots, while Kelsi Reynolds and Lauren Duquette notched wins.
Falcons fall to Danville
Danville defeated GCMS 6-3 last Thursday.
Rose Williams and Sophie Hafer had the lone doubles win with an effortless 8-1 victory.
Hater also notched a singles win in the No. 4 spot 8-3, while Andrea Worthington won her No. 5 singles match 8-2.
“Sophie always plays with a calmness that most players tend to lose when they get down, but Sophie just keeps on working her game and it shows,” Petersen said. “Andrea did an excellent job of assessing her opponents hitting style and adjusted her game accordingly. Then her opponent changed it up, but Andrea was on top of it and kept changing her hitting style to compete, and as you can see, it paid off.”
Lauren Duquette/Rachel Harmet and Estelle Keigher/Lexi Wilfong won their exhibition matches 8-4 and 8-3, respectively.