The Eagles battled Speedway in girls' tennis Monday, walking away with a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Sparkplugs. After the match, head coach Johnnie Briones commented on the effects the wet spring has had on his team.
"It's slowed things down a bunch. As I've always said, it's like golf, the more swings you get the better and more consistent you're going to get. When you lose that practice time it really hurts and it showed tonight," Briones said.
South Putnam was able to pick up a pair of wins in doubles action, with the No. 2 doubles team of Kylie Brown and Kaitlynn Nissen rebounding from a tough second set.
After going up in the first game, Brown and Nissen fell in the second set 0-6 and had to do a gut check. The duo roared back in the third set to capture the win 6-4, 0-6 and 6-4. After the match, Briones was more than pleased with his No. 2 doubles team.
"They really showed what they are made of," he said. "They won that first set and then, boom, they were down 0-6 in the second set. I thought they were done for, but told them, 'you really have to show what you're made of right here,' and they did. They toughed it out and pulled it out. I'm really proud of them."
The No. 1 doubles team of Megan Klotz and Tabitha Arnold won their match easily, winning 6-2 and 6-1.
As Briones noted following the match, it was at singles where the Eagles struggled.
No. 1 singles player Kendra Latham lost to Ayla Heffern 6-1 and 6-4, while Abby Trauner fell in No. 2 singles action 6-0 and 6-4. Ashley Ross fought Kelsey Roband at No. 3 singles, but came up shorts, losing 6-4 and 6-3.
Latham had climbed the chain from No. 2 singles to the No. 1 slot and her coach thought she gave a solid effort in her first outing.
"I wanted to try something a little different with Kendra (Latham) at No. 1 singles and I was pretty pleased with that," Briones commented, "She was a little nervous at first, but she settled down and gave her opponent a strong second set and I was happy to see that."
It was clear from the opening serve that Trauner and her opponent Allegra Guerretaz had strapped on their armor and were ready for battle. The duos game was a series of extended volleys where the ball would creep over the net, but mostly it was a waiting game to see who would blink first.
Guerretaz was able to counter everything Trauner could toss at her and her height posed a particular problem for the South Putnam senior.
"Her opponent was really intimidating because she's pretty tall and it's like a brick wall there at the net. Abby really had a tough time getting the ball past here, but she fought hard," Briones said.
In junior varsity action, South Putnam captured 3-of-4 singles matches and 3-of-4 doubles matches.
The Eagle will host Northview Monday at 4:30 p.m.
At South Putnam
Speedway 3, South Putnam 2
Heffern (S) def Latham (SP) 6-4, 6-1; Guerretaz (S) def. Trauner (SP) 6-0, 6-4; Roband (S) def. Ross (SP) 6-4, 6-3
Klotz/Arnold (SP) def. Shelley/Mason (S) 6-2, 6-1; Brown/Nissen (SP) def. Runge/Cota 6-4, 0-6, 6-4
Guthrie (SP) def. Thomas (S) 8-2; Pitts (SP) def. Larrison (S) 8-1; Higgins (S) def. Goss (SP) 8-6; Bean (SP) def. 8-6
E. Minor/J. Minor (SP) def. Johnson/Freeman (S) 8-1; Miller/Fitzpartick (SP) def. Johnson/Tremaine (S) 8-1; York/Higgins (SP) def. Trackwell/Johnson 8-0; Johnson/Jones (S) def. Asher/Kanai (SP) 6-4
Next game -- The Eagle will host Northview Monday at 4:30 p.m.