CENTERVILLE — The Eaton girls tennis team will send five players – sophomore Macy Hitchcock at singles, senior Sophie and junior Grace Murphy at doubles, and seniors Tess Murphy and Erika Wilkinson at doubles – to the OHSAA Southwest District Tournament this weekend after a strong showing at the OHSAA Sectional Tournament last week.
The No. 1 seeded Hitchcock also brought home a sectional singles championship, downing familiar foe Lily McCloskey (Oakwood) 6-1, 6-3 in the finals.
En route to the finals, Hitchcock downed Reina Frame (Valley View) 6-0, 6-0; Karli Vipperman (Greeneview), 6-2, 6-0; Rachael Carlson (Northridge), 6-0, 6-0; and Patty Estrada-Sanchez (CJ), 6-1, 6-0. McCloskey was the No. 2 seed while Estrada-Sanchez was the fourth seed.
“Lily doesn’t give you anything easy. You’ve always got to tip your hat to her,” Eaton coach John Hitchcock said. “It’s happened the last two matches, Macy seems to kind of run through the first set. Lily just plays until the very end and always has so I always admire and respect her for that. Macy was able to buckle down; it was a nice win for her.”
Juniors Anna Kramer and Haneet Kang, who had mostly played doubles this season, also competed in singles.
Kramer fell to Miranda Riggs (Oakwood) 6-3, 6-2, while Kang fell to Morgan Dean (CJ), 6-3, 6-0.
Coach Hitchcock said they played well but had difficult draws.
“Anna drew a really good, young Oakwood player who can really hit the ball. For the first set, Anna really hung with her, gave her everything she had, so I was proud of that,” he said. “Haneet drew another tough matchup, the No. 2 girl from CJ. She played well. Especially for them playing doubles all year to get thrown in singles, they hit the ball well, just battled. Which is all you can ask.”
In doubles, both Grace/Sophie Murphy and Tess Murphy/Erika Wilkinson qualified for districts, but fell short in obtaining a sectional championship.
The Murphy sisters, the No. 1 doubles seed, cruised to the finals, defeating seniors Michelle Bulach and Zoey Collins of Preble Shawnee 6-0, 6-0; Hannah Bailey and Olivia Franks (Dixie), 6-0, 6-0; and Emily Pojman and Maggie Shope (Alter), 6-1, 6-2.
In the finals, they matched up with the No. 2 seed: Sarah Hall and Natalie Connelly of Oakwood.
While the Murphys were able to remain competitive, winning three games in the first set, the Oakwood duo was able to outlast Eaton for the sectional doubles championship, beating the Murphys 6-3, 6-0.
Tess and Erika had a similary easy path, defeating Alana Baker and Madde Rupper (Alter), 6-3, 6-3 and Catherine Barclay and Sarah Bennet (Carroll), 6-0, 6-1.
However, in the semifinals, the duo ran into the previously mentioned Hall/Connelly pairing from Oakwood, falling in three sets 1-6, 7-5, 1-6.
Their struggles continued in the third place match against Pojman and Shope from Alter, falling 6-4, 6-4 for a fourth place finish in doubles.
“I really liked the way those two played against Oakwood,” Coach Hitchcock said. “That was a nice Oakwood team for our girls to take them three sets. I thought they played well. With the Alter match, those girls were just two capable players. I mean, each of those two girls played two singles for Alter at different points in the season, and one of them played on the first doubles team all year.”
Coach Hitchcock said he was extremely happy to send five to districts, especially considering the challenge in Centerville’s Sectional with teams from Dayton.
“Just another layer to really the best season,” he said. “We’ve hit some more milestones, much bigger, larger milestones. It’ll go down probably one of [our] best teams in Eaton.”
Preble Shawnee also competed in the OHSAA Girls Tennis Sectionals, seeing their season come to an end as their girls fell before qualifying for districts.
Junior Hannah Riggs defeated Riley Holkema (CJ) 6-2, 6-3 before falling to Grace Lampman (Oakwood), the fourth seed in the Centerville Sectional, 0-6, 0-6.
Also in singles, junior Maya Davidson fell to Vipperman 2-6, 0-6, and senior Brittney Quillen lost to Elisabeth Collins (Alter) 0-6, 0-6.
Riggs and Davidson had both been named Second Doubles Runner-Up at the SWBL Tournament.
Before falling to Sophie and Grace Murphy, Bulach and Collins defeated Kristen Bottles and Anna Jackson (Carlisle) 6-0, 6-0.
Collins had previously been named Second Singles Runner-Up at the SWBL Tournament.
Junior Kylie Gadd and sophomore Maggie Montgomery, who were named First Doubles Champion at the SWBL Tournament, fell to Emma Burkett and Maria Ely (CJ) in a closely contested 5-7, 4-6 match.
The Arrows finished their season with a 9-3 record overall and 6-1 in conference with a second place finish at the SWBL Tournament.
Eaton’s five district qualifiers will compete in the OHSAA Southwest District Tournament this week, looking to secure a spot in the state tournament.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles