By Eddie Mowen Jr.
MASON — Eaton tennis coach John Hitchcock believes freshman Sophia Murphy’s trip to the district tournament was a first for the program — and he’s hoping it’s just the beginning of things to come.
Murphy, who was the sectional runner-up at Troy last week, lost to Annika Alper of Cincinnati Seven Hills, 6-3, 6-4, in the first-round of the Girls Division II District Tournament on Thursday, Oct. 12, at the ATP Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
“Today was outstanding. We didn’t know anything about the girls so you’re kind of blind coming in. I think the thing I took away from it was she showed that she belonged,” Hitchcock said. “She competed and certainly had the opportunities in the match. She just let some games get away from her. I like the fight and I like the competitiveness.”
Hitchcock said he told her before the match to just have fun.
“I commend her though. It’s the first time we get to come down here and actually participate and not spectate,” he said.
Hitchcock said he believes the district trip was a historic one for the program.
“I’ve been saying I don’t think we’ve had a female qualifier ever,” he said. “But I can’t find anyone to verify it.”
As a freshman, the situation could have been overwhelming.
“I don’t think she was. Maybe a few butterflies the first couple of games. I think both of them had it and it balanced out,” he said.
Despite the loss, Murphy said felt she played well.
“I felt like I played pretty well, but I made a lot of unforced errors,” she said. “It was tough, but I fought hard and my hard work paid off.”
She said reaching district this season was a bonus.
“I expected to make it to state my senior year and not even to make it to districts at all,” she said. “It (the season) went really, really well and I’m super happy. It was a really good first season.”
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