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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Tiger Cubs down Eagles in opener

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Greencastle No. 1 doubles player Katie Collins defends the net during Tuesday's contest with South Putnam. The Tiger Cubs won the match 4-1. [Order this photo]
GREENCASTLE -- With Greencastle and South Putnam sporting the only girls' tennis teams in the county, when the two tangle, it's always a big deal. Add to the fact on Tuesday that one match lasted for more than three hours and you could begin to describe their meetings as epic.

The Tiger Cubs cruised to a 4-1 win on Tuesday, with South Putnam's lone win coming in the marathon match between Kendra Latham and Harriett Watson.

Latham and Watson battled throughout the evening, matching baseline shot for baseline shot. It's the type of match where there's nothing fancy to it and it's more of a case of who will blink first.

In their first set, Latham lost to Watson 6-3, but was able to battle back in the second set to win 6-1. In the third and decisive set, it again went the distance; with Latham edging out Watson 7-5 for the Eagles' only win on the night.

Despite the loss, Greencastle head coach Sally Martin was pleased with her freshman player.

"Harriett (Watson) is a freshman and I know it's tough for her to lose in three, but that's showing a lot for a freshman to step in at No. 3 singles and keep mentally strong," she said. "She's got a lot of talent and gives her some competition; I'm really looking for some good things."

Kate Babington picked up the win at No. 1 singles over Megan Klotz, winning 3-6, 6-0 and 6-4. Babington kept Klotz running side-to-side and dropped shots in the tiniest of places for points.

Katie Farris defeated Ashley Ross at No. 2 singles 6-1 and 6-0 for another Greencastle win in the singles competition.

The duo of Lauren Kenny and Katie Collins knocked off South Putnam's No. 1 doubles team of Kyley Brown and Kaitlynn Nissen 6-1 and 6-3. At No. 2 doubles, Emalie McCain and Nicole Boyle defeated Jordan Pitts and Allie Guthrie 6-1, 2-6 and 6-1.

For South Putnam head coach Johnnie Briones, Tuesday's match was a mixed bag. On one hand, he was pleased with his team's play, but at the same time saw areas of improvement.

"Kind of mixed emotions," Briones said. "First match and against Greencastle and I think nerves play a little bit of a factor in it. I don't think our girls were hitting the ball well. A lot of them felt that they could have hit the ball a lot better.

"But, like I said, first match -- I'm pretty pleased with it. We have another tomorrow at Turkey Run, so we're going to have to get right back in the saddle and go at it again," he added.

Martin was happy with her team's play across the board and acknowledged the hard work her team has put in.

"I like the way Kate Babington at No. 1 was down," Martin said. "(It was) good a experience for her to even get down and then come back. To be able to observe the court now and what other players are doing and be able to adjust and use her game and turn it around.

"Katie Farris worked hard over the years. She had some things thrown at her to challenge her, and she's risen to the challenge and it shows. It's great to have two of them that are right there," she said.

She went on to applause the play of her double teams as well.

"At No. 1 doubles, asking Katie Collins to move, it was great for her to be willing," Martin said. "It's hard for high schoolers to understand that single aren't always the end of everything. She picked it up right away. Lauren (Kenny) worked on her game through the winter and came out strong.

"We've got strength in our doubles and we've got some young players. We're really deep in young players, which I really like. So, I'm pretty proud of everybody all the way through. We were ready to play somebody," she said.

"I knew it would be a good match -- a close match and it was. But all in all, I'm pretty pleased. I was really proud of how the girls hung in there. A lot of times you can really get down on yourself mentally, but we kept fighting, fighting and I was really proud of that fact," Briones said about his team.

South Putnam will travel to Turkey Run tonight at 5 p.m., while Greencastle will travel to Rockville Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

At South Putnam

Greencastle 4, South Putnam 1

Singles -- Babington (GHS) def. Klotz (SP) 3-6, 6-0, 6-4; Farris (GHS) def. Ross (SP) 6-1, 6-0; Latham (SP) def. Watson (GHS) 6-3, 6-1, 7-5

Doubles -- Kenny/Collins (GHS) def. Brown/Nissen (SP) 6-1, 6-3; Boyle/McCain (GHS) def. Pitts/Guthrie (SP) 1-6, 6-2, 6-1

Next match -- South Putnam will travel to Turkey Run tonight at 5 p.m., while Greencastle will travel to Rockville Thursday at 4:30 p.m.