The Rolla girls tennis team made the trip up to Columbia for the Rock Bridge Tournament on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Rolla played three teams in the tournament, going 2-1 despite playing without several players who were out with illness or focusing on school work.
The tournament format saw teams play two singles matches and two doubles matches. There was no bracket play or awards given during the tournament, so it wasn't technically a tournament, but it was a step above a dual.
Rolla started the night with Columbia Battle and the Lady Bulldogs made it through the match without much difficulty. Rachel Butz played with an illness, but still cruised past Kaitlyn Bailey 8-0. Mya Burken had the toughest game of the match, but pulled out an 8-5 win over Marybeth Classen. Moving into doubles, Olivia Burken and Rylee Kriete beat the duo of Maleah Ray and Rachel Godbey 8-2. Rolla then finished off the sweep when Shannon Chan and Kathleen Beetner won 8-0.
"In round one our girls could really work on their own games," said head coach Joe Schisler. "Battle was better than these scores indicate. I think they just haven’t quite yet found the recipe to string together some wins."
Rolla faced Rock Bridge in their second round of matches, but there was a caveat. Rock Bridge is one of the top teams in the state, so they elected to play with their JV to keep the night of games a bit more competitive. As a result, Rolla won the match 3-1. Butz's illness caught up to her and she lost to Abby Still 8-4. After that Rolla had three great wins. Rylee Kriete beat Lucy Posion 8-3 to round out singles. The Burkens then beat Lindsay States and Gabbey Tella 8-5. Chan and Beetner rounded out the match with an 8-4 win over Lauren Reynolds and Teresa Huang.
"Round 2 was more competitive and Rock Bridge forced us to be more consistent and find a way a win," said coach Schisler. "They are a great program, and I appreciate Coach Loeb playing his JV since their varsity is just overwhelming for most teams in Missouri right now."
Rolla ended their night with their only loss of the tournament, losing to Quincy, Illinois 4-0. Butz fell at number one 8-4 and Olivia Burken lost at number two 8-1 in singles. The duo of Kriete and Beetner lost at number one doubles 8-1, while Mya Burken and Chan lost 8-2 to round out doubles.
"In round three we were trying some new doubles pairings and also just kind of ran out of steam," said coach Schisler. "We were without our 2,4, and 8 players due to illness and kids taking care of academics first. Rachel Butz also played sick, so that Quincy match isn’t really indicative of us as a team."
Despite the loss to end the day, coach Schisler was very happy with how his team fared up at Rock Bridge.
"It was a great day of tennis. Our girls continue to improve, grow closer as a team, meet team goals, and find joy in the little moments," said Schisler. This is an amazing group of young women, and they just keep finding ways to get better."
Rolla followed up the long night of tennis with a home match against Helias on Thursday, but results were not available at press time. Their JV will play in the Lebanon JV Tournament on Friday before the varsity is back in action on Monday, Sept. 18 when they host Waynesville.