Eastside High School girls tennis coach Leah Carlisle knew that Morgan County presented a tough match-up for her team.
But, instead of wilting against the Lady Bulldogs, Eastside excelled, besting Morgan County 4-1 in non-region action Tuesday on Senior Day.
Eastside picked up opening wins in No. 1 singles and doubles before Jessica Ugan clinched the match with a win in No. 3 singles.
Carlisle said the girls surprised her with their effort and that the team is playing well at just the right time.
“I thought we played fantastic today,” Carlisle said. “We knew Morgan County was good and we came into the match just looking for some good competition heading into the region tournament later this month. We just ended up playing really well, especially in our No. 1 slots.
“We came up with a big win in No. 1 doubles — Savannah Fearnow played really well. This is her first year playing and she stepped up big today,” she said. “We had another great win in No. 1 singles with a tiebreaker win. We’re playing well heading into the region tournament and that’s what I wanted to see today.”
Senior Kolyse Wagstaff led the Lady Eagles with a 9-8 (7-5) tiebreaker win in No. 1 singles, outlasting Morgan County’s Katherine Rittenhouse in the contest’s opening match.
Emmy Jordan and Fearnow, who replaced senior Ellen Blockowitz in the line-up due to injury, followed up Wagstaff’s impressive win with another victory in No. 1 doubles. Tied 8-8 after regulation, Jordan and Fearnow picked up a 7-4 tiebreaker win, downing the Lady Bulldogs’ Sarah Beth Taylor and Alex Malone.
With a 2-0 lead, Eastside’s Danysha Lamadieu was unable to clinch the win in No. 2 singles, falling 8-1 to Morgan County’s Caroline Jones.
Ugan sealed the Lady Eagles’ victory in No. 3 singles, downing Lily Arienzo 8-5.
Eastside’s Taylor Bechtlen and Shelby Kelly-Burnett capped off the 4-1 win with an 8-5 victory in No. 2 doubles over Morgan County’s Caroline Taylor and Anna Lindsay.
Carlisle said the win meant a lot to the program and its seniors.
“Our two seniors, Kolyse Wagstaff and Ellen Blockowitz, have been our leaders since last season when they stepped into the co-captain role,” she said. “They’ve provided a great deal of leadership to our program and we’re going to miss them. We have a lot of great girls coming up, but they’ve been irreplaceable for us this year.”
The Eastside boys team had a less successful outing against the Bulldogs, falling 4-1 to Morgan County at home.
Before the match, Eastside honored seniors Ryan Kedzierski, Evan Tanner, William Gann and Matthew Bradford.
Despite the senior day moniker, it was David King and Tyler Briem that pulled out the Eagles’ lone win, posting a victory in No. 2 doubles, denying the Morgan County sweep.
“I wish we could have picked up a win on Senior Day, but I’m proud of the effort the guys displayed today,” Eastside coach Brian Saffold said. “I thought we played really hard. Morgan County is a great team – but I don’t think they out-classed us today. I’m just proud of the effort the guys put forth.
“We have a mixed group of seniors. We have guys that have been out here all four years and others have been here for just a few seasons,” he said. “They’ve all played a vital part this year and I’m thankful for the work and effort they’ve put into this season. They’re a great group of guys that do everything you ask of them. As a coach, you can’t want anything more.”
Morgan County rolled through the first three matches of the afternoon, as the Bulldogs’ Mason Devane picked up an 8-4 win over Kedzierski in No. 1 singles. Morgan County’s Garrett Gardner and Ben McMichael followed with an 8-2 victory over Eastside’s Gann and Bradford, extending theBulldogs’ lead, 2-0.
Chan Courchaine clinched the match for Morgan County in No. 2 doubles, besting Tanner 8-1.
King and Briem ended Morgan County’s streak in No. 2 doubles, earning an 8-1 win over Sam Jones and Noah Harris.
The Bulldogs’ Matt Calloway wrapped up the win for Morgan County with an 8-3 victory over Justin Wagstaff in No. 3 singles.
Eastside returns to
action April 16 at Madison County for the Region 8-AAAA tournament. Both Eastside teams head into the tournament as the No. 2 seed for their respective sub-regions.