EATON — As Eagles sophomore Macy Hitchcock dropped her first set against Oakwood’s Lily McCloskey, the large crowd that gathered at Eaton’s new tennis courts fell silent.
Both of Eaton’s doubles teams had already won, and losses by second and third singles left the team match at a 2-2 standstill as both of the teams and spectators focused their attention to first singles with Hitchcock going against McCloskey.
Hitchcock was the last hope for the Eagles, ranked the No. 2 Division II team in the state according to the Miami Valley Tennis Coaches Association, to knock off Oakwood, who was ranked No. 1 as of Sept. 6.
She led in the first set 5-2, but a storming comeback by McCloskey gave her the 7-5 win.
“After she was up 5-2 in the first set and couldn’t close that out, sometimes that will just send you into a tailspin and you don’t recover,” Eaton coach and Macy’s father John Hitchcock said.
That wasn’t the case for Macy, however, as she won the second set in a 6-0 domination, sending the match to a third set that she would win 6-2 to give Eaton its first ever win over the Lumberjacks in tennis and move the Eagles to 16-2 on the season.
Throughout the second set, the crowd slowly got back into the match, culminating with Coach Hitchcock shouting, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” from the far corner of the court as Macy scored the final point in the set.
In the third set, Macy dominated again, winning four straight games after it was tied 2-2 to close out the individual and team match.
“Testament to her pulling out the second set 6-0 and then just grinding and finding a way to outlast in the third,” Coach Hitchcock said. “With that being the deciding match, you know, just adds that much more.”
Coach Hitchcock was noticeably emotional after the match, both due to the drama of the match and the overall win for his team as well as seeing his daughter overcome a longtime challenge.
“Kind of a double whammy when you’re the coach and dad,” he said. “You just hope she can find we’ll find a way to pull it off. [Macy]’s got a record with that girl. I mean, they’ve had some good battles, but [McCloskey] had a 6-0 win streak with [Macy], but some have been really pushed. The other girl kind of played with nothing to lose, I think, which helped [Macy].”
Coach Hitchcock has coached for the Eagles since 2012, and said he has never seen a team match with this much drama.
“Not for a high school match,” he said. “Now granted, [Macy]’s had some personally in USTA, but in terms of team stuff, nothing. Nothing like this.”
The win also had added flair and excitement due to Senior Night, which Coach Hitchcock said was “fitting.”
“I think that helped, ultimately,” he said. “Got a great crowd here. They got behind them.”
As the Eagles move forward, they will compete in the SWBL Championship on Sept. 30 at Thomas Cloud Park in Huber Heights.
Additionally, Coach Hitchcock said that this match was Eaton and Oakwood’s State Team Tournament match and League Match, so the Eagles are now in the finals of the State Team Tournament for the Southwest District for the first time.
“Now, they’ll get to enjoy this one, but with the way the tournament works, you know, the SWBL Championship is still up in the air because they count how you finish in the tournament,” he said. “So, we’ll need another strong showing there to try to pull off the actual title. All-in-all, for them to get this win was pretty sweet.”
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles