EATON — Playing in the Schroeder High School Invitational for the first time, Eaton’s girls varsity tennis team put together a strong showing.
The Eagles placed second in the eight-team field, which included Brookville, Milton-Union, Sydney, Tippecanoe, Troy, Valley View and Vandalia Butler.
“(We) had every position medal which was completely unexpected,” Eaton coach John Hitchcock said. “Third place was the lowest finish for our team and second was the highest. Going into it, I suspected our three singles players would be competing for some of the top spots but I truly didn’t know how our doubles teams would fair.”
Hitchcock said his team’s inexperience didn’t show.
“Our first doubles team of Addie Bell and Brianna Ward have experience playing doubles just not together. And on top of that, they’re both still knocking rust off of their tennis games,” he said. “Our second doubles team Anna Kramer and Erika Wilkinson, a freshman and a sophomore respectively, are really beginning tennis players trying to learn the basics of the game. So it truly was a pleasant surprise to have both teams finish third and their results was a major factor in our placing second in the team standings.”
Bell and Ward beat Brookville 8-1, lost to Butler 1-8, then defeated Troy 8-2 for third place.
Kramer and Wilkinson beat Brookville 8-3, lost to Tipp City 4-8, then defeated Sydney 8-2 for third
In singles, the Murphy sisters eventually ran into stiff competition but played some pretty good tennis all in all.
Sophia Murphy placed second at first singles by beating Brookville 8-1, Butler 8-5, then losing a hard fought match with Milton Union 5-8.
Grace Murphy placed second at 2nd singles beating Brookville 8-0, then an extremely tough opponent from Milton Union 8-5. She fell to a player from Tippacanoe 8-3 in the final.
Tess Murphy placed third at 3rd singles beating Valley View 8-0 in the first round. In the second round she fell to Milton Union 4-8, and then defeated Troy 8-4.
“What will be interesting is the fact that each sister will have to play the girl they lost to in future dual matches. Hopefully they each were able to learn something that they can apply in the rematch,” Hitchcock said.
Tippecanoe ended the day as team champions with 36 points, Eaton was second with 32 and rounding out 3rd was Vandalia Butler with 29.
”I was very proud of our finish, especially edging out Butler. Not only are they a Division I school but their entire line up was all seniors,” Hitchcock said. “Our squad has just one senior so our arrow is definitely pointing up. It was a fun day of tennis and a great event for our team to play to get experience. Hopefully we can make another strong push next year.
To begin the week, Eaton defeated Carrol 5-0.
As the Eagles get their feet wet at the beginning of the season, they were able to take care of all five courts as they completed the sweep of Carroll.
“Not having played them last year, we weren’t exactly sure what to expect,” Hitchcock said. “Sophia had to shake off a very sluggish start. She found herself down 1-4 in the first set but was able to win five games in a row to close out the set. All the other girls were focused and dialed in.”
1st singles: Sophia Murphy beat Consuela Galages-Alaya 6-4, 6-1
2nd singles: Grace Murphy beat Alyssa Otte 6-0, 6-1
3rd singles: Tess Murphy beat Zhenya Huber 6-1, 6-0
1st doubles: Addie Bell and Brianna Ward beat Lauren and Julia 6-2, 6-0.
2nd doubles: Anna Kramer and Erika Wilkinson beat Braylon S pitler and Rachel Hartlong 6-2, 6-1.
In their second league match of the week, Eaton faced off against Monroe.
The Eagles pulled off the win beating Monroe 4-1.
“Going into the match we knew our doubles were definitely going to be challenged, we just weren’t exactly sure what their singles positions were going to be like. Fortunately for us, the Murphy sisters were all on for the afternoon and handled their courts fairly easily,” Hitchcock said.
Second doubles Anna and Erika let a first set lead slip away from them but they managed to buckle down at the right time and closed the set out at 7-5.
”They played much more consistent the second set,” Hitchcock said.
The first doubles team Addie Bell and Brianna Ward had a tough match up playing a team that is on their third year of playing together.
”That kind of chemistry goes a long way. I think Addie and Brianna are as good of tennis players as the other two but they’re still trying to get used to playing together,” Hitchcock said.
1st singles: Sophia Murphy beat Julia Peterson 6-1, 6-2
2nd singles: Grace Murphy beat Renee Lyons 6-1, 6-0
3rd singles: Tess Murphy beat Kattlyn Etler 6-0, 6-1
1st doubles: Addie Bell and Brianna Ward lost to Moore and McNonigle 3-6, 4-6.
2nd doubles: Anna Kramer and Erika Wilkinson beat Brandon and Sechrist 7-5, 6-2.
In their first dual match of the season Eaton, faced one with of the strongest teams in the area and league rival, Oakwood.
Eaton lost 4-1, with Tess Murphy collecting the only win for the Eagles.
Sophia Murphy’s opponent was a state qualifier as a freshman so she had her hands full.
“Unfortunately, the score doesn’t reflect how tough she played,” Hitchcock said.
Freshman Grace Murphy had to face off with another freshman and made quite the battle out of it.
“Grace really pushed the girl in the first set but started to lose some steam in the second set,” Hitchcock said.
1st singles: Sopia Murphy lost to Lily McClosky 0-6, 0-6
2nd singles: Grace Murphy lost to Sarah Hall 4-6, 1-6
3rd singles: Tess Murphy won over Katie Ritschel 7-6 (3), 6-3
1st doubles: Addie Bell and Brianna Ward lost to Natalie Connelly and Sophia Russell 0-6, 0-6.
2nd doubles: Anna Kramer and Erika Wilkinson lost to Sydney Lurks and Sophie Schnell 0-6, 2-6.