Eaton tennis caps big week with win

By Eddie Mowen Jr. -

EATON — In what is normally a lopsided win for The Miami Valley School, the Eaton girls varsity tennis team was able to turn the tables on the Rams for the first time ever last week.

Eaton swept the Rams 5-0.

It capped a week of big matches for the Eagles, who also played Beavercreek for the first time in program history and battled Oakwood for the top spot in the Southwestern Buckeye League.

Against MVS, Macy Hitchcock defeated Janine Quigley 6-0, 6-0 in fist singles play.

At second singles, Sophia Murphy earned a 6-1, 7-5 win over Lakshmi Jain.

At third singles, Grace Murphy won in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 over Shraya Sanohir.

In first doubles play, Tess Murphy and Erika Wilkinson defeated Nolita Palamor and Genna Roth 6-1, 6-2, while the second doubles team of Anna Kramer and Haneet Kang beat Guvleen Dab and Leigh Stevens 6-0, 6-2.

“Despite the 5-0 score, the matches were competitive in some spots and there was some quality tennis played as the MVS players are certainly no strangers to tennis courts,” Eaton coach John Hitchcock said. “Macy continues to showcase a high level of consistent tennis but is really going to need to step up her game in the coming weeks if she wants to do big things in post season play.”

At 2nd singles, Sophia had a formidable opponent, who could exchange the same powerful shots, according to Hitchcock.

“Sophia won her first set easily but then quickly found herself down 2-5 in the second. After a little talk, she was able to gather herself, reach down and show some true fight and heart and in dramatic fashion won 5 straight games. That was a great comeback from Soph,” Hitchcock said. “I was truly proud that she found a way to fight back. That sometimes goes missing but today she made it happen. That definitely needs to stick around for league and post season play.”

Grace Murphy played solid tennis in her win.

“Grace held her opponent at bay as she played fundamental tennis and waited for the right time to go for her shots,” Hitchcock said. “The doubles teams both got back on track after a tough day at Beavercreek. They’ll both have to step up their games as Tipp City comes to town on Monday and their doubles teams already have wins against the Eagles. Tipp is a solid team. Our girls definitely want a rematch at doubles and our singles will need to be focused.”

Eaton was scheduled to host its last dual match of the season which coincidentally will be Senior Night for the Eagles.

The win improve the Eagles dual match record to 15-2 overall and 5-1 in the SWBL.

On Wednesday, Eaton defeated Beavercreek 3-2.

Another first to the schedule, the Eagles traveled to Division I Beavercreek, who was the third ranked team in the area for Division I schools, according to Hitchcock.

“Having a very solid first singles player and very good doubles teams, Beavercreek was going to present a challenge. As suspected, the doubles teams got off to really bad starts but after some talking and some tactic adjustments they started to make a match out of it. Anna and Haneet jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the 2nd set but could not maintain that momentum and let the 2nd set slip away in a tiebreaker. Tess and Erika had a similar experience as they had the lead in the second set until the very end when some untimely errors cost them the match. If anything, hopefully our girls payed attention to how they played. They dominated the net, got their returns in and minimized unforced errors. We Need to execute that style of play better than we have been.”

As tough as it was for the doubles teams, the trio of singles player only lost two games on the day.

“Our singles players were not really challenged on this particular day. Unfortunately, Beavercreek was without their top singles player due to injury which hampered their line-up,” he said. “We were happy to get the win, but Macy was looking forward to playing their top girl, who happens to be a two-time state qualifier. They played earlier at the Coaches Cup tournament in which Macy won 8-4 but she was hoping for some extended playing time in playing a full match.”

On Monday, the team traveled to Oakwood for a highly anticipated showdown between two of the top teams in the area and for first place positioning in SWBL as both teams were undefeated in league play.

Eaton entered the match at 12-1 and Oakwood was 10-0.

Last season, Oakwood finished as the 4th best team in the state for D-II and they returned every starter for this season.

“We were fully aware of what we were up against, but this season we knew we had a chance if our singles positions played some of their best tennis ever. This is in no way disrespecting our doubles teams because they came ready to play. We just don’t have the type of depth that they do. Nobody does in this area,” Hitchcock said. “And sure enough, our singles players made it a match”

Hitchcock said Oakwood changed its everyday line up to match up with his team.

“They knew Grace was a threat at 3rd singles so they pulled their third best player from doubles just to play Grace,” he said. “Which proved to be a good move. In the early goings, the first set started close then Grace lost any momentum she had. In the second set, she started fast and jumped to a 3-0 lead but then hit a lull and just couldn’t get enough going to get the second set to force a third set. Grace was actually playing good tennis but her errors seemed to come in the key points which cost her.

Her older sister Sophia, was playing some phenomenal tennis at second singles, according to Hitchcock.

“After failing to snag a highly contested first set, she rallied back with beautiful passing shots and won the second. Then continued strong in the third set, but you could definitely see the energy level dropping from both girls as they were approaching almost three hours of play,” Hitchcock said. “It really looked like Sophia was going to pull that match out. She led the entire way but at the 4-3 change over the legs just went and so did her shots. Her opponent won three straight games to get the win.”

To get their only point for the match the Eagles had to do something that has never been done in the history of the girls tennis program and that was to beat Oakwood at first singles.

Luckily, freshman Macy Hitchcock was ready for the challenge.

“Macy played an amazing brand of tennis and stayed focused from start to finish. She was very familiar with her opponent. She is a two-time state qualifier and has been named player of the year for the past two years,” the coach said. “Macy used all of that and then some has fuel for her match and she hit hard and clean on her way to a 6-2, 6-1 win.”

This could be the first of several match-ups over the next few weeks for these two programs.

“Unfortunately, this is very likely the first of many matches between these two. So hopefully she can keep the same intensity and mindset in the future ones. The win keeps Macy undefeated on the season at 19-0 and really helps position her as being one of the top seeds at sectionals,” the coach said.

Despite the loss, coach Hitchcock was proud of his team’s effort.

“Overall, I’m really proud of the heart and fight we showed in this match. I am disappointed that we didn’t get the win because we definitely proved it was obtainable. However, years ago, this would’ve been just an after thought match and we would’ve been happy winning some games. Not with this team,” he said. “I was also very happy with our fan base as we had many from the community make the trip over to help cheer us on. That has never happened before. It definitely took Oakwood by surprise because it was standing room only.”

By Eddie Mowen Jr.

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or follow on Twitter @emowen_RH

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or follow on Twitter @emowen_RH