The Rolla tennis team played back to back matches on Wednesday, Sept. 12 and Thursday, Sept. 13. The Lady Bulldogs had to grind through a difficult match with Sedalia Smith-Cotton, but they were able to pull out a 5-4 win, before a tough 2-7 loss to Lebanon on Thursday.
The Lady Bulldogs were boosted by a couple of big doubles wins when they faced off against Smith-Cotton on Wednesday. The number three team of Kathleen Beetner and Shay Pelfrey made quick work at number three 8-0. After that, Rolla had tough matches at one and two. The Burken sisters, Olivia and Mya, had a close match with Jessica Kotok and Maria Onzo at number two, but they finished strong to pull out an 8-5 win. The closest match of the night came at number one doubles and proved to be a deciding victory. Rylee Kriete and Diya Allada had a few ups and downs in their match, as the duo went to a tiebreaker with Macy Mathew and Caroline Matz. They just kept fighting through the match to the very end, pulling out the tiebreaker 11-9 to win the match and give Rolla a 3-0 lead.
Rolla already had a tournament Monday and another match on Tuesday, so they had some younger players step in to play varsity singles to give players like Kriete and Allada a little bit of a break. The Lady Bulldogs played well at numbers one and two with Olivia Burken and Kathleen Beetner, but they both took hard-fought 6-8 losses. Mya Burken and Eliana Stanislawski both took 4-8 losses at three and five, but Rolla got the two wins they needed at four and six to get the team win. Sheri Chan controlled her match at number four for an 8-2 win, while Anne Marie Bevis won 8-3 at number six to seal the 5-4 team win. The JV swept their matches, as well, for a victory.
"This was another great night where our girls stepped up and played hard. Some of them had just returned and had some rust to knock off. Some were playing tired on a busy week. Some moved up several spots," said head coach Joe Schisler on the match. "We continue to find meaningful matches for our younger players when we need to rest other players or let them take care of other obligations. It is a rare luxury to have so many players capable of competing at the 4, 5 and 6 slots...If we continue growing through our challenges, this team has much to be proud of and look forward to. They just keep stepping up."
The busy week started to catch up to the Lady Bulldogs with a trip to Lebanon on Thursday, taking a 2-7 loss. Rolla had one win in doubles where they pair of Beetner and Pelfrey clawed their way to a 9-7 win. Rolla lost the other two matches by scores of 8-0 and 8-1.
Rolla had a few particularly strong matches in singles, as well. Allada earned the lone singles victory by fighting her way to a 9-7 victory over Skyler Maynor. Beetner also had a tough match, but fell 6-8. Rolla also had a pair of 2-8 losses and two 1-8 losses on the night.
The Lady Bulldog JV had a strong night with doubles wins from the teams of Emma Taylor/Serenity Huber, Paige Taylor/Emma Daily, Faith Taylor/Sheri Chan, Bevis/Stanislawski. They also had singles wins from Chan, Stanislawski, Bevis and Faith Taylor.
"This was a great match. We were obviously overpowered in places, but competed hard across the board. We continue to see growth. Diya Allada took some strides forward tonight," said coach Schisler. "On JV several girls continue to accept challenges and improve. Our doubles teams just haven’t quite found our stride this season. And our singles players haven’t really all been operating at their highest level on any night. There isn’t a great deal of difference between Camdenton and Lebanon and I think with continued improvement we can get pretty close to that level.
Rolla has a much deserved weekend off now before another action-packed week next week. The Lady Bulldogs host Willow Springs on Monday, Sept. 17, before playing in the Rock Bridge Tournament on Wednesday. The JV will also compete in a tournament in Lebanon on Friday.