PREBLE COUNTY — After a full week of dual matches, Eaton’s girls varsity tennis team took part in the Miami Valley Tennis Coaches Cup Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Centerville High School.
In addition to Eaton, the tournament included Beavercreek, Chaminade Julienne, Miamisburg, Milton-Union, Miami Valley School and Springboro’s B team.
It turned out to be a good day for the Eagles as they were able to capture first place as a team with solid playing across the board, according to Eaton coach John Hitchcock.
Eaton finished with 39 points. CJ was second with 34, Beavercreek was third with 31 and Miamisburg was fourth with 25.
“It’s nice to see the girls get rewarded for their hard work but this is not our main objective when we participate in events like this,” Hitchcock said. “Our primary goal is to go compete, try to improve our games, and continue to develop as players. Especially, against quality opponents such as the ones in this event. We knew our doubles teams were going to face some stiff competition and be really challenged.”
All three of Eaton’s singles players — Macy Hitchcock, Sophia Murphy and Grace Murphy — took first place
The first doubles team of Tess Murphy and Erika Wilkinson placed third and the second doubles team of Anna Kramer and Haneet Kang also finished third. f
“Tess and Erika getting third place was a pleasant surprise as they started off as the fourth seed. They lost to Beavercreek in the semifinals but played them very tough. They definitely made Beavercreek, the eventual champion, earn it,” John Hitchcock said. “Then for third place the pair played out of their minds. It was the best I’ve seen them play as duo, to date. They just couldn’t miss and everything was working as they made quick work of Milton-Union.”
Kramer and Kang were on the wrong side of the worst loss, according to their coach.
In their semi-final match, they were up 7-4 on CJ and just needed to win one more game to get to the finals.
“Sadly, they couldn’t get there and eventually lost it in a tiebreaker. They were both very disappointed, but what I’m proud of is the fact they were able to not have it impact their last match. They blocked it out and played well enough to earn third place,” the coach said.
At singles, Eaton was heavily favored at all three positions but still had to be focused and ready to deliver.
“Macy had to be on her game as she faced a two-time state qualifier in her semi-finals and then she met up for the third time in four weeks with a friendly foe from CJ. Sophia Murphy had her work cut out for her right off the bat as she faced a very capable Miami Valley player. After getting through that, she was able to battle through a close start with Miamisburg and string a bunch of games together winning the finals 8-3 at second singles. Grace Murphy, at third singles, continued to be our quiet assassin as she went about business as usual. She took care of Springboro B and then CJ in the finals,” coach Hitchcock said.
Also last week, Eaton defeated Brookville 5-0 to remain undefeated in SWBL play, and Miamisburg, 4-1.
Despite the heat, Eaton was ready to play and with Brookville missing two varsity players the Eagles line-up proved to be just too much for Brookville.
After a strong week of playing, the team is 12-1 and ranked No. 2 in the Miami Valley Tennis Coaches Association Poll for Division II schools.
“By far, the best start in program history,” coach Hitchcock said.
However, on Monday they will face their biggest challenge of the season.
“It’s fitting that their last league match is against undefeated and No. 1 ranked Oakwood,” the coach said. ‘We’re going to have to play some of our best tennis to date to have a chance against them but we’re excited for the opportunity. We are the two best teams in the league and up until a year ago, you could not have included Eaton in that sentence ever. So, on Monday, we’re going to give them everything we’ve got.”
Eaton will prepare for another full week of dual matches as they have five more to play then it will be tournament time. With SWBL and Sectionals on the horizon.