DAYTON — Preble Shawnee claimed three singles championships and won its first-ever team championship in tennis when the team completed its perfect season in the SWBL Buckeye Division by clinching the league title at the SWBL Buckeye League Championship held Tuesday, Sept. 22 at Thomas Cloud Park in Huber Heights.
The team entered the tournament with a huge lead in the standings and was going to win the championship barring any major upsets in the tournament.
However, for head coach Dave Hubbard, simply “backing into a title” wasn’t good enough.
“I told the girls lets go out there and win all five,” said Hubbard. “We got three first places and two second places so we really solidified our season and proved this wasn’t a fluke.”
Senior captain Brooklyn Hubbard took home the first singles title. After receiving a buy in the first round she defeated Thaomy Tran of Northridge, 6-2, 6-1 and Megan Eckley of Waynesville 6-2, 6-1 in the finals.
Sophomore Ashlyn Hubbard followed suit by dominating second singles play as she had done all season. She also received a buy in round one, and then defeated Haley Richards of Waynesville 6-1, 6-0 and Emily Phelps of Madison 6-4, 6-2 to claim her own title.
Not to be out-done by her teammates, junior Sydney Quillen closed out her strong season by claiming the third singles title. After a bye in the first round she defeated Savana Sheets of Carlisle 6-0, 6-2 and in the finals defeated Hannah Oakley of Madison, 6-0, 6-2.
The three singles players finished the season with the same record, each finishing 17-1 and earning the title of SWBL individual champion.
A big part of the success for the Arrows this season was due to underclassmen in doubles play. The first doubles team combination of freshman Alivia Reek and Allison Zornes fell in the finals of the first doubles tournament.
The duo entered the tournament as the number three seed and made it all the way to the finals by defeating the team from Madison in the first round and the Milton Union team in the second round. The team fell in the finals to Katie Taylor and Hannah Stebleton of Carlisle, 7-5, 6-1.
In second doubles, sophomore Delaney Bennett and freshman Lauren Smith also finished as runners-up. They defeated Dixie 6-1, 6-1 before defeating Madison 6-4, 6-1 in the semi-finals. They lost in the finals 6-3, 6-3 to Annie Campbell and Sydney Gilbert of Carlisle.
For Hubbard, coming into the season he knew his team was talented in singles play, but he soon discovered depth on his roster as Bennett, Reek, Zornes, Smith and freshman Jane Feck were able to pick up valuable points for the team by having tremendous seasons in their own right.
Brooklyn Hubbard said afterward they didn’t really begin talking about a team league title until after seeing the potential of a very athletic group of doubles players.
“We knew we were going to have a solid singles lineup,” she said. “But what we didn’t know was that we were going to get some underclassmen who were really athletic and would catch on to the game so fast.”
“Both as a team and individual, it’s going to be something I’ll remember forever,” said Brooklyn Hubbard, who could be seen crying after being greeted by teammates after her championship match.
Luckily the senior will have a hard time forgetting the season, as the tennis program will now have a banner in the Shawnee gym for the first time in its 31-year history.
“I’ve been going to basketball games and looking around the gym and seeing how many banners are hanging up there, thinking ‘man it would be really cool to get a tennis banner’,” Coach Hubbard said. “It’s nice to finally get one up there.”
Hubbard was on the first boys’ team for the program in 1984 and is now a member of the first title winning team. “Well, I mean it’s something I’ve thought for a long time,” said the coach. “As a guy who is enthusiastic about tennis, I’ve just been looking for the day that we had a group come through that could do this.”
The Arrows also defeated Valley View at home, 5-0, on Monday, Sept. 21, and Middletown, 5-0, on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
The team will continue its season in the sectional tournament beginning on Thursday , Oct. 1.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.