EATON — On Monday, Sept. 23, Eaton’s girls tennis team hosted Tippecanoe for its final dual match of the season.
In addition, it was Senior Night for the team as well in which the Eagles honored their lone senior, Isabella Gaydosh-Bruce.
“She has been with the program all four years of her high school career. Despite playing JV, her competitiveness has definitely had an impact on the entire team because she forced the players above her to raise the level of their games,” Eaton coach John Hitchcock said.
Eaton wrapped up the regular season with a 5-0 win over the Red Devils.
“In terms of the match, (we) knew (we) were going to have (our) hands full with a very tough and scrappy Tipp team. Based on some earlier run ins, in previous tournaments we knew we were in for a challenge,” Hitchcock said. “We felt good at 1st singles and 3rd singles, but knew 2nd singles and both doubles teams were going to face stronger opposition. Looking at the scores, that’s exactly how it played out.”
Freshman Macy Hitchcock and sophomore Grace Murphy, at 1st and 3rd singles respectively continued their strong play and have two of the best starts in program history.
Macy Hitchcock remains undefeated at 23-0 and Grace Murphy has only dropped one match making her 22-1.
At 2nd singles, Sophia Murphy turned in a good performance as she took control of both sets just at the right time.
“Each set was extremely close to start but she came up strong at 4-3 in both sets and eliminated any hope her opponent may have had,” John Hitchcock said. “The win brings Sophia to an also impressive 20-3 record to date. Luckily that secured the win for us as both the Eagles doubles teams were in tightly contested matches.”
At 1st doubles, Tess Murphy and Erika Wilkinson found themselves in a rematch from their worst loss of the season.
Earlier in the year, the Eaton duo was up 7-4 with two match points on the same team and ended up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as they lost in a tiebreaker 8-9, according to their coach.
“Needless to say, Tess and Erika wanted another shot at the pair. It was a very competitive match with games going back and forth. Both playing a good brand of doubles,” coach Hitchcock said. “One side would have momentum then the other team would steal it right back. Ultimately, the teams would split sets forcing a deciding 3rd set. After losing a close 2nd set, Tess and Erika were highly motivated to come out strong and despite close games they were able to get to 5-2. After dropping one more game they made sure history did not repeat itself and closed the set out at 6-3. Not only was this a great redemption win for the two but it was a great win in general. To get this match, they showed great character as they remained composed and positive even during the low points. Their play was terrific but their mental toughness was as impressive. To make the win even sweeter, this Tipp team was selected as the No. 1 seed in the Troy sectionals. Even with (us) being moved back to the Dayton sectional, it just shows what a quality team Tess and Erika have become.”
In eerily similar fashion as they have almost done all season, Anna Kramer and Haneet Kang, at 2nd doubles, had a near identical match as 1st doubles did.
“I don’t know if all four girls just watch the other’s match but this is like the fourth or fifth time this has happened,” coach Hitchcock said. “In their first meeting, the Tipp team won a close pro set. In the 2nd meeting, Eaton won easily, so we were very curious to see what the real result would be. To be honest, (we) should have won in straight sets. Our girls were up 5-4 and proceeded to lose three straight games because they got nervous and tight. Give Tipp credit for fighting the good fight and not giving up in the second set. Luckily Anna and Haneet loosened up and played much more free and confident taking the set somewhat emphatically. This too, was a great win for our girls. Hopefully gives them some added confidence as we gear up for the SWBL Tournament on Friday and then sectionals the week after.”
This win brings the Eagles to 16-2 for the final dual matches.
“By far, the best record of any tennis team, girls or boys,” coach Hitchcock said.
Eaton was scheduled to compete in the SWBL tournament on Friday, Sept. 27. They will begin sectional play this week on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at Centerville High School. The tournament will continue on Thursday, Oct. 3 and Saturday, Oct. 5.