DAYTON — Preble Shawnee’s girls tennis team won their second straight Southwestern Buckeye League championship, Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Thomas Cloud Park.
The Lady Arrows sent all five of their players into the final matches, winning three golds and two silver medals. Shawnee earned 26 team points from their 6-0 conference record and 22-2 overall record, while earning 28 tournament points and totaling 54 league points — good enough for the team championship.
“It was a great day for us,” said Shawnee coach Dave Hubbard. “It took us 31 years to get the first title, so we were in no hurry to let that title go to someone else. The girls did a great job of remaining focused and to pick up a much tougher championship.”
No. 1 singles Ashlyn Hubbard started her day with a bye, followed by a semifinal match against Thaomy Tran of Northridge. Tran was the No. 3 seed and was ranked third in the conference going into the tournament. It was a very competitive match, with Ashlyn Hubbard beating Tran for the second time this year, 6-4, 6-3.
The finals match pitted Ashlyn against Madison Porter of Madison. Despite her best efforts, Hubbard lost 6-0, 6-1, to take second.
“It was a very tough match,” said Ashlyn Hubbard. “Maddy Porter really outplayed me. She was just awesome, nobody was going to beat her today. I’m just happy, it’s a great feeling to win the title. I’d prefer to win the team title than to be the only one to win a gold. I love being a part of this team. I’m looking forward to sectionals. I have a pretty good draw, but I’m always eager for a challenge.”
Allison Zornes competed in the second singles bracket. As the No. 2 seed, she was able to run the gauntlet in three matches, beating Madison Elliott of Northridge 6-0, 6-1 in the first round. Her semifinal opponent, Emily Phelps of Madison, fell 6-3,6-3. In the finals, Zornes was able to beat Abby Hissong of Milton-Union 6-3, 6-1, for the gold medal.
“It went really well today,” said Zornes. “This is my first year in second singles. Last year, I was first doubles and I’m really thankful being able to win. I’m really happy, I hate that tennis season is ending. I’m looking forward to sectionals — I just don’t want the season to end yet.”
In third singles, No. 1 seed Alivia Reek also received a first round bye. She breezed past Baker of Dixon 6-2, 6-1. Her finals match against Rachel Rock of Milton-Union turned out to be quite a challenge. The first set was a very tight 7-5 win, but Reek settled down and took care of business, winning the second set 6-1.
“Today was hot and I just played like I do every other day, going my fastest and glad that I won,” said Reek, who won the gold.
The No. 1 doubles team of Ashlyn Quillen and Jane Feck was able to win three sets and take first place.
“It was intense the whole day. Every game was tough for us,” said Feck They shut out Howell/Smith of Northridge 6-0, 6-0, while outlasting Bushelman/Fugate of Milton-Union 7-5, 6-3.
In the finals, the Lady Arrows brought down No. 1 seeds Campbell/Smith of Carlisle 6-0, 6-3. “We are just very happy to win, we just broke down in tears because it was just so emotional,” said Quillen.
Lauren Smith and Kirsten Boone went into the tournament as the No.3 seeded team. Despite two easy wins, they were unable to beat the top-seed team of Farmer/Billing in the finals. “We were doing good, but that last team was really good,” said Smith.
Placing in second was Milton-Union with 46 points. Carlisle finished third with 36 points, while Madison was a close fourth with 19 points. Dixie took fifth with 19 points, while Waynesville and Northridge rounded out the last two spots with 12 and 11 points respectively.
“To get five spots in the finals as we did last year is big,” said coach Hubbard. “I didn’t expect that to happen because the competition was quite a bit tougher, but they really came through with some gritty tennis and I’m super proud of them.
“Sectionals is a nice fun day for us,” he said. “We do take it serious, but this league title was the prize we were looking for. This is what we came to get all year long, and we did it.”
Sectionals will be held at Centerville High School on Oct. 5-6, with the semifinals and finals to be held on Oct. 8. Both Preble Shawnee and Eaton will participate in this event.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH