Merrill netters come so close vs. Wausau foes
The Bluejay tennis team was on the verge of great results but came up just short in all three meets over the past week.
Merrill fell 5-2 to D.C. Everest last Tuesday, then was edged 4-3 by East on Thursday and Wausau Newman on Monday.
“Newman has been a perennial powerhouse in girls tennis, so I was very happy with our overall performance,” MHS coach Janet Thompson said. “Number two and three doubles got off to a slow start, but really adjusted their games and nearly came back to win the second sets. And I was again excited by how well our singles players are playing. They improve every match on shot placement and moving opponents around.”
Scores–Singles–#1 Rachel Bayer L 6-0, 6-1; #2 Michaela Raleigh W 7-5, 6-1; #3 Frances Moonen W 6-0, 6-2; #4 Katie Nelson W 7-5, 6-3. Doubles–#1 Katie Purmal/Kayla Sutton L 6-3, 6-0; #2 Alli Prebeg/Grace Huftel L 6-0, 7-6 (7-4); #3 Donna Sczygelski/Katie Tomalak L 6-1, 7-6 (9-7).
The teams split singles on Tuesday and the Evergreens swept doubles for the 5-2 win.
Raleigh (3-6, 6-4, 6-3) and Nicole Williams (7-5, 7-6 [7-3]) pulled out victories.
“We knew that we were going to face tough competition once we started playing conference opponents,” Thompson said. “D.C. Everest has a very good team. It was a real eye opener for the eight girls on the team playing their first varsity match in the Valley.
“One of the highlights of the meet for us was the determined play of Michaela Raleigh. She fought back after losing the first set against a hard-hitting player. She definitely has a “never give up” attitude. Katie Nelson also played well in what turned out to be a nearly 2 1/2 hour long match. She and her opponent had similar playing styles which led to quite a few long rallies.”
Scores–Singles–#1 Bayer L 6-0, 6-0; #2 Moonen L 6-4, 6-1; #3 Raleigh W 3-6, 6-4, 6-3; #4 Williams (W 7-5, 7-6 (7-3). Doubles–#1 Purmal/Sutton L 4-6, 6-0, 6-2; #2 Prebeg/Huftel L 6-4, 6-2; #3 Alissa Brewer/Cassandra Plachetka L 6-3, 6-0.
Merrill took care of 3-of-4 single matches, but left the door open to a 4-3 loss in doubles after a rain delay.
“Our match against East was extremely close,” Thompson said. “Our singles play was again strong as we won fairly easily at number 2, 3, and 4. In doubles we showed some weakness with our inability to finish strong and close out matches.
“Katie and Kayla, as well as Cassy and Alissa, won their first sets. Shortly after that we had to suspend play for about twenty minutes due to rain. When they got back out on the courts, the girls seemed to have lost some focus and the momentum shifted in East’s favor. We have to be careful not to take any lead for granted and lessen the intensity of play.”
Scores–Singles–#1 Raleigh L 6-4, 6-1; #2 Moonen W 6-3, 6-4; #3 Bayer W 6-1, 6-1; #4 Nelson W 6-0, 6-2. Doubles–#1 Purmal/Sutton L 3-6, 6-2, 6-1; #2 Prebeg/Huftel L 7-5, 7-5; #3 Brewer/Plachetka L 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.