1st singles Macy Hitchcock defeated Lily McCloskey 5-7, 6-0, 6-2.
2nd singles Anna Kramer lost to Sarah Hall 4-6, 1-6.
3rd singles Haneet Kang lost to Natalie Connelly 0-6, 0-6.
1st doubles Sophia Murphy and Grace Murphy defeated Claudia Schnell and Miranda Riggs 6-2, 6-4.
2nd doubles Tess Murphy and Erika Wilkinson defeated Katie Ritschel and Grace Bauer 6-2, 6-4.
Where to start!? It was truly a match for the ages. It had it all. Two teams each ranked in the top five of the State for Div 2. State qualifiers. District qualifiers. It would feature tennis that one could see at the Div 1 College level. League rivals both 5-0 with this being the last league match played. It would send the winner on to the finals of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association State Team Tournament to represent the Southwest District as a final four team for a chance to be the State Champion as a team. It was senior night. It had numerous tennis fans. It had numerous non tennis fans who didn’t know what the heck was going on. It had alumni from the 70s in hopes to witness what has NEVER been done in the history of both tennis programs. Over 40 yrs for boys and nearly 40 for girls. It had players from other schools. It had Covid-19. It had hype and build up. It had tweaked lineups. And the match lived up to it and then some!
It all started with a non traditional lineup for the Eagles. We speculated on what they might do because they had to adjust last year to beat us. So we thought we would load up and try to go hard after 3 courts. 1st singles, and both doubles and if we picked up any others it would be a bonus. We felt good about Sophia and Grace as a doubles team because they were district qualifiers last year as doubles and they had just recently played some good competition at the CJ doubles tournament less than a week before.
At that point, it’s all about play and execution. At the start it was going our way a little too well. Both doubles teams had each won their first sets 6-2 and Macy was up 5-2, 40-love serving for the set. Then the unthinkable happened. Her opponent upped her play and Macy let off the gas just enough and before you knew it had lost 5 straight games and the set. In the meantime Tess and Erika are down 1-4 in the second set and Sophia and Grace are neck and neck in their second set. Give credit to Oakwood. They were not giving anything away and they were not giving up without a fight. That’s really when it the match started to come alive. Second doubles refocused and started clawing their way back in. 1st dubs kept battling. And the big question was how was Macy’s psyche after losing the first set in that fashion. That’s a tough spot. We’ve all been there but to do it in front of the whole world, so to speak is another. Fortunately, Macy has a favorable history against Lily and certainly knew she was capable of winning. She was just going to have to do it the long way. And that she did. With the crowd behind her helping fuel her drive she rolled through the second set 6-0. By this time, Tess and Erika played exceptionally well and stormed back to close out the second set. That was awesome because it not only gave us the first point of the match but gave more energy to crowd.
Then Sophia and Grace rallied back and closed out their set giving us two points. By that time, the match was tied at 2-2 because we had put Anna and Haneet in some very tough spots to play Oakwood’s #2 and #3 girl. I’m very proud of the way they played and how theycarried themselves on the courts. Anna especially challenged their #2 girl who was a district qualifier last season. Her performance was amazing. Even though She was outmatched, Haneet fought til the very last point.
Now all eyes are on court one and you can just feel the tension mounting. Macy stole the momentum back after a dominating second set. Wins the first game convincingly but then loses the next two and now you start to wonder what you’re in for. Wins the next one to tie at 2 all. Then methodically starts to string hard fought games in her favor where it finally is 5-2 just like in the first set. That is why no one was comfortable. Except now her opponent was serving to try and stay in the match. Both players physically spent. It was pretty much now all heart and fight. Up 40-15 on her opponents serve, Macy hits a ball out. One match point blown. On the next point after an intense back and forth rally Macy’s opponent hits the ball long. Game, Set, Match. Words can’t describe the sheer excitement and energy at that moment. For those in attendance, they were treated to one of the most exciting and dramatic finishes to a high school dual tennis match ever. Certainly the greatest match ever played for an Eaton Tennis Team. It was the most dramatic win I’ve ever been a part of. So proud of these girl’s efforts. Especially on Senior Night when all 3 seniors played a significant role in the victory. They will be able to carry this milestone victory with them the rest of their lives.
The win brings them to 14-2 and 6-0 in league. Unfortunately they won’t get long to celebrate because they will all to get themselves back up and prepared to square off again in the SWBL Tournament next Wed at Thomas Cloud.