Thursday, August 25, 2011
SALINA SINGLES TOURNAMENT
LADY MUSTANGS OPEN SEASON IN FINE FASHION
The Salina Central girls tennis team
opened it's 2011 season in the
Salina Central Singles Quad. The Lady Mustangs placed in second place, two points behind Salina South. Central was led by junior Sammy Jordan at #1 Singles with a perfect 3-0 record on the day. Second place finishers included Senior Tionna Trarbach and freshman Riley Miller in the #3 and #4 positions, respectively. Junior Sydney Dauer finished fourth.
The Lady Mustangs are back in action Saturday as they travel to the Shawnee Heights Doubles Tournament in Topeka.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS DOUBLES TOURNAMENT
SALINA CENTRAL SWEEPS ALL DIVISIONS
At Topeka, The Salina Central girls scored a perfect 12 team points in sweeping all events at the Lake Shawnee Courts.
Each Central team won in the three doubles divisions to beat second place Lawrence Free State in the team scores.
The team of junior Gabrielle Briggs and sophomore MacKenzie Morris won all four of their matches to take the No. 1 crown. Freshmen Morgan Hauserman and Meg Johnson swept to win the No. 2 division. Senior Tionna Trarbach and junior Alisha Walters also won all four of their matches to take the No. 3 division.
Salina Central will host the Salina Central Quad next Thursday. The field will include Salina South, Hutchinson, and Marysville.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
SALINA CENTRAL QUAD
SALINA CENTRAL WINS QUAD
Salina Central’s girls won three of the four individual titles Thursday on the way to a first-place finish in the Central Quadrangular. Central finished with 12 points to 6 for runner up Salina South.
Gabrielle Briggs and MacKenzie Morris teamed up for first place with three victories in No. 1 doubles, while Alisha Walters and Meg Johnson claimed the No. 2 doubles title and Morgan Hauserman, the No. 2 singles, also with 3-0 records. Rachel Norris was second in No. 1 singles for the Mustangs with a 2-1 mark.
For South, Carly Anderson placed second in No. 2 singles, with Sara Chaffee and Amber Rayl taking second in No. 2 doubles, both with 2-1 records. Rachel Frazier was third in No. 1 singles with a 1-2 record and the team of Courtney Irwin and Deby Nouanlasy third in No. 1 doubles at 1-2.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
SALINA CENTRAL DUELS
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS DOMINATES DUELS MEET
Coaches get a good look at their team’s depth each year at the Salina Central Duels girls tennis tournament, where each school brings up to 10 players. Salina South coach Ryan Stuart liked what he saw from his Cougars on Saturday, after South went 3-1 and finished second in the round-robin event at the Central High courts. Each of South’s four singles players and three doubles teams went 2-2 or
better, and the Cougars’ only loss in the duel format was a 4-3 decision to state-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas, No. 3 in Class 5A.
“This was the highest finish we’ve had in this tournament and came against some good competition,” Stuart said. “We do have some decent depth and in a meet like this, where you have 10 kids playing, that can be huge.” South’s Marisa Mitchell went 3-1 in No. 1 singles with her lone loss to Melinda Johnson of Aquinas. Mitchell was the only player to win a game against Johnson in four matches Saturday. “That’s a whole different style of play than we see in our region,” Mitchell said of Johnson. “It’s good to get a look at her and know what to expect the next time we play, and I have time to pick up my game.” “I thought Marisa played pretty well,” Stuart said. “She had a tough day Thursday in her first meet and it was nice to see her come back today and play well against some good competition.” South’s Carly Anderson, Courtney Irwin and Deby Nouanlasy were unbeaten in their respective divisions. Anderson was 4-0 at No. 4 singles with her closest match an 8-4 victory over her opponent from Arkansas City. Irwin and Nouanlasy combined to go 4-0 in No. 3 doubles, with three of those wins coming by scores of 8- 1, 8-0 and 8-0. “Going 4-0 in those two divisions shows the kind of depth we have,” Stuart said. “All of those girls were able to take care of business.” South’s record included a 5-2 victory over Central in the tournament’s final round. The Mustangs finishedMthe day 0-4, but had team members go 2-2 in three divisions. Because of a family commitment, Central was playing without it’s No. 1 doubles team of Gabrielle Briggs and MacKenzie Morris , forcing Central coach Mike Goll to move each of his other doubles team up a spot. “I was disappointed we couldn’t get our No. 1 doubles team here because of the scheduling conflict,” Goll said. “That put pressure on our other teams, but I was happy with the way they played despite that pressure.” Central’s Sammy Jordan went 2-2 in No. 2 singles, as did Morgan Hauserman in No. 3 singles. Central’s No. 2 doubles team of Sydney Dauer and Tionna Trarbach also finished 2-2. The Mustangs, who had four freshmen in their lineup, had 12 matches that were decided by two gameS or less. Central went 4-5 in matches decided in a tiebreaker. “The girls were competitive and in some close matches,” Goll said. “The scores can be a little deceiving but we’ve got a young team. We lost an outstanding group of seniors from last year’s team and everybody’s trying to find their niche in the new lineup.” South finished with 2-2 records in four of the seven divisions. Rachel Frazier at No. 2 singles and Sara Chaffee at No. 3 singles each split their four matches, as did the No. 1 doubles team of Cassidy Cook and Molly Courbot, and Sarah McConnell and Katie Siemsen at No. 2 doubles
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
ARKANSAS CITY WINS AT NEWTON
The Bulldogs of Arkansas City won the Newton Invitational on Tuesday. The Salina Central Lady Mustangs finished in seventh place in the team standings. Salina Central was led by a 5th place finish in doubles by Alisha Walters and Tiona Trarbach. They finished the day with a 3-1 record. Finishing the day in 15th place was the tandem of Sydney Dauer and Megan Johnson.
In the singles competition, Sammy Jordan was the top finisher for Central. Jordan grabbed a 10th place finish, while Riley Miller picked up a 13th place. The Lady Mustangs will be hosting the Salina Invitational on Saturday at both Salina Central and Oakdale Park.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
SALINA CENTRAL INVITATIONAL
DANDY DAY FOR CENTRAL DUO
Gabrielle Briggs and MacKenzie Morris were all smiles after they walked off the court at Salina Central on Saturday, following their championship loss. In falling 8-4 to St. Thomas Aquinas’ Lauren Huddlestun and Melinda Johnson, they knew the net gain was greater than winning any one doubles match. “I always look forward to this tournament because you know you’re going to get good competition,” said Briggs, who teamed with Morris to give Salina Central second place in the doubles bracket of the Central Invitational. “I love playing teams that are as good as or better than us. “We definitely improved today, both in our communication and chemistry.”
Aquinas, led by the doubles victory from Huddlestun and Johnson, plus third place in singles from Adreanne Orlanes, took the team championship with 109 points, followed by McPherson with 100. McPherson senior Kirsten Holle beat Lawrence Free State’s Alexis Czapinski, 8- 5, for the singles title while Moira Pyle gave the Bullpups a fourth-place finish as well. Salina Central finished fifth with 82 points and Salina South seventh with 63. Briggs and Morris, who edged Maize’s Paige Lungwitz and Jess Holman, 8-5, in the semifinals, never led the championship match. They did battle back from a 2-0 deficit to get back on serve, only to drop the next three games. “What kills doubles teams is you have to finish points,” Morris said. “Though the score didn’t show it, it was a very close match and it could have gone either way. “Gaby and I hadn’t played together a whole lot this last week, but we played probably the best we have all year. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.”
Huddlestun and Johnson kept the pressure on, attacking at the net whenever possible. “That’s was our goal for today and the rest of the year, to get better and more consistent at the net,” said Huddleston, a junior, who last year teamed with Orlanes to take ninth in doubles at state. “I thought we both played pretty well, and we worked together a lot better than usual.” Johnson, who didn’t play high school tennis as a freshman, said the duo has set their sights high. “Our goal is to win state this year,” she said.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the doubles bracket came from Salina South’s Marissa Mitchell and Cassidy Cook, who teamed up for the first time this season to finish fourth. They knocked off fourth-seeded Hannah Weber and Allison Reiser of Hutchinson, 8-2, in the quarterfinals before falling 8-0 to Huddleston and Johnson in the semis. They then trailed Lungwitz and Holman, 4-1 and 6-3 in the third-place match before forcing a tiebreaker and falling 8-7 (7-3). “This was my first tournament playing doubles this year, and I thought we played extremely well,” said Mitchell, a sophomore. “I love playing with (Cook), so we’ll just have to see what happens. “We communicated really well.” Cook said the two worked well together in practice for the tournament, but that they exceeded their own expectations with the fourth-place finish in the 28-team bracket. “I was just excited to see how well we could do,” she said. “I didn’t expect us to play this well.” South coach Ryan Stuart was not there to see his doubles team, leaving for the hospital when his wife went into labor early in the morning and shortly after gave birth to a son. Stuart was kept apprised by text messages. “I think he’ll be proud,” Mitchell said.
Smooth transition In singles, top-seeded Holle breezed through her bracket with steady play throughout. “I just tried to get every ball back,” said Holle, who won Class 5A state as a sophomore and took second last year in doubles. “That was my strategy for the day, just to keep the ball in and get one more shot back.” Holle, who beat teammate Pyle 8-0 in the semifinals, said the transition to singles has been smooth, in part because she played both singles and doubles before regionals the past two years. “I think they complement each other, because in doubles you get a lot of net work,” she said. “This is a big tournament, and it should really help, especially if we stay in 5A.”
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
CENTRAL DOUBLES TEAMS SPARKLE
At Goddard, Salina Central’s No. 1 doubles team of Gabrielle Briggs and MacKenzie Morris placed first and the No. 2 doubles tandem of Sydney Dauer and Meg Johnson took second in the Goddard Invitational.
Central finished third in the team standings with 21 points. Maize was first with 23 points and Wichita Collegiate second with 22. Briggs and Morris defeated Grace LeMaster and Jillian Johnson of Wichita Collegiate 8-1 in the championship match. Dauer and Johnson lost to Audrey Stingo and Katelyn Winn of Maize 8-4 in their title match. Central’s Rachel Norris took fourth in No. 1 singles, losing 8-0 to Hannah Hills of Maize in the consolation match, while Tionna Trarbach took fifth in #2 singles with an 8-5 victory over Mindy Hess of Valley Center in her final match.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
WICHITA COLLEGIATE INVITATIONAL
MUSTANGS TAKE SECOND AT WICHITA COLLEGIATE
Wichita, Kansas - The Salina Central Tennis team fell two points shy of Wichita Collegiate to finish runner up to the defending 321A State Champions. The Mustangs were lead by the #1 Doubles tandem of Gabrielle Briggs and MacKenzie Morris. The duo finished the tournament with a 3-0 record to take the title defeating Ester Cho and Jillian Johnson in the finals.
Rachel Norris made it to the finals of #2 Singles before dropping the finals match 8-7 (2) to Mankoski of Winfield. Norris finished the day with a 2-1 record. Freshman Morgan Hauserman place 4th at #1 Singles at 1-2, while the #2 Doubles team of Sammy Jordan and Alisha Walters also finished at 1-2 for a 4th place finish.
The Lady Mustangs are back in action Thursday as they participate in the Salina South Invitational.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
SALINA SOUTH INVITATIONAL
SALINA CENTRAL IS SECOND AT SALINA SOUTH INVITE
The Lady Mustangs took second place Thursday in the Salina South Invitational. They finished 6 points behind the host school, Salina South. The Mustangs were again led by the Doubles tandem of junior Gabrielle Briggs and sophomore MacKenzie Morris. They took the doubles title with an 8-2 win over Westerman and Yoast of Junction City in the finals. The ladies finished the day with a 4-0 record for the day.
The #2 Doubles team of Junior's Sammy Jordan and Alisha Walters settled for a 6th place finish with a 2-2 record. They dropping their final match by a score of 8-4 to Olberding and Weissenbach of Abilene. Also, in a 6th place finish was freshman Morgan Hauserman with a record of 2-2. Hauserman lost her final match 8-1 to Sarah Zey of Abilene. Meg Johnson, also a freshman, finished at 8th place in the 16 girl field with a 1-3 record. Johnson was defeated in her final match by a score of 8-2 by Sydney Shields of Maize.
The Lady Mustangs are back in acticon next Tuesday as they travel to Topeka for the Topeka West Invitational.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
TOPEKA WEST INVITATIONAL
BRIGGS & MORRIS SHINE AT TOPEKA WEST
Salina Central traveled to Topeka West on Tuesday and competed in the Topeka West Invitational. The Lady Mustangs came away with a 4th place finish in a field of nine teams. The team was led by the doubles duo of Junior Gabrielle Briggs and sophomore MacKenzie Morris. They defeated the Washburn Rural doubles teams of Hill and Shepler in the finals by a score of 8-5. They finished the day with a record of 3-0 and push their season record to 24-1.
The #2 doubles team of junior Sammy Jordan and Meg Johnson placed 3rd in their division with a 2-1 record. They defeated Damman and Crow of Topeka Seaman to secure the 3rd place finish.
In singles, senior Rachel Norris placed 5th in #2 singles. She defeated Erica Harper of Topeka Seaman in her final match of the day to finish at 2-1. At #1 singles was freshman Morgan Hauserman. She finished the day at 1-2 and finished in 10th place.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
VALLEY CENTER INVITATIONAL
LADY MUSTANGS COME UP SHORT AT VALLEY CENTER
Salina Central finished in fourth place at the Valley Center Invitational on Thursday. The split squad scored 4 points to edge Augusta in a tiebreaker for the fourth position. The Lady Mustangs were led in singles by senior Rachel Norris who finished 1-3 on the day for a fourth place individual performance. At #2 singles, junior Sydney Dauer finished 0-4 to finish fifth.
The doubles team of senior Tionna Trarbach and junior Alisha Walters finished 4th in #1 doubles with a 1-3 record. The #2 team of junior Katie Kelemen and freshmen Jessie Plante went 2-2 to take 3rd place.
The Lady Mustangs will be back in action next Monday as they travel to Maize for the AVCTL League Championships.
Monday, October 3, 2011
SALINA CENTRAL CROWNED AVCTL DOUBLES CHAMPIONS
Gabrielle Briggs and MacKenzie Morris claimed the title of AVCTL Doubles Champions in Maize on Monday. Briggs and Morris defeated Hannah Weber of Allison Reiser of Hutchinson 6-1, 6-1 in their championship match. The championship finish allowed the Lady Mustangs to finish one point out of second place for team standings. The Mustang duo are now 27-1 on the season. Central's other doubles team of Morgan Hauserman and Meg Johnson finished fifth. Sammy Jordan placed seventh and Rachel Norris 10th in singles for the Mustangs.
Maize won the AVCTL Championship with 38 points. South finished with 34 team points while Salina Central was third with 33. The Lady Mustangs are back in action next Saturday as they host the 5A Regional at Salina Central.
Monday, October 10, 2011
LADY MUSTANGS ARE REGIONAL CHAMPIONS
Salina Central’s Gabrielle Briggs and MacKenzie Morris made short work of their opponents. Salina South’s Marisa Mitchell had to toil considerably longer.
In the end, they all shared the same status as regional tennis champions.
Briggs and Morris rolled through their quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches Monday at the Central High School courts, winning the Class 5A regional doubles title in dominating fashion.
Mitchell won a regional singles title for the second time in as many tries. The Cougar sophomore survived a three-set semifinal, then was finally able to put away a persistent Krista Sellers of Valley Center in the final match, 6-1, 7-5.
While Salina athletes swept the top individual honors, Central also came away with a regional team title. The Mustangs and Valley Center tied at the top with 13 points each, with Central winning the tiebreaker of percentage of games won .597 to .550.
“The girls fought hard all season, and they were right there in every meet we played this year,” said Central coach Mike Goll. “For them to come away with a regional championship is pretty special, and they worked hard to get this.”
Briggs and Morris, who will be among the top seeds at this weekend’s 5A state tournament in Goddard, won each of their three matches Monday by identical 6-0, 6-1 scores. They won the first 11 games in the championship match against Great Bend’s Brianna Schartz and Jami McVay before the Panther duo broke Central’s serve to avoid the shutout.
“We had the confidence that we could win this tournament, but we still couldn’t overlook our competition,” Briggs said. “There were a lot of good players here, but we were on top of our game and just had great chemistry today.”
“That was probably one of the best tournaments we’ve ever played,” Morris said. “We knew if we won today, we might get the No. 2 seed at state so that was our motivation. We not only wanted to get to state, we want to finish the day right.”
After dropping the second set in her semifinal with Great Bend’s Morgan Francis, Mitchell moved to the net more in the final set. That change in strategy proved successful, as Mitchell finished off the 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 victory.
The title match featured numerous long points, with both players willing to sit back and exchange volleys. Mitchell won the opening set and had a 5-0 lead in the second, only to have Sellers win the next five games.
Mitchell got a service break in the 11th game of the set, then served out to avoid a potential third set. The singles title contest was the final match on the courts and ended nearly two hours after the doubles title contest.
“It was a completely different style of play,” Mitchell said. “I had to charge the net and sit down on my shots when I was on the baseline.
“I had to get in control if I wanted to win the point. I had to stay mentally strong, because if I spaced out, they would take advantage of that.”
“That was the theme for the day — nothing came real easy,” said South coach Ryan Stuart, whose team finished third, one point behind Central and Valley Center in the team standings. “Give credit where credit is due, because Sellers got down 5-0 and kept playing.
“It’s a regional championship so it’s not supposed to be easy.”
Mitchell will be joined at the 5A state tournament this weekend by the South doubles team of Cassidy Cook and Molly Courbot. They advanced to the regional semifinals before falling to Schartz and McVay in three sets. Cook and Courbot then lost another three-set match against Valley Center’s Bekka Bailey and Bailey Pritchard for third place, 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-4.
“Cook and Courbot played together early in the year and then we went back with them together at the end of the year,” Stuart said. “They were able to make the semifinals and at the end of the day, they are state qualifiers. That’s pretty good.”
In addition to Morris and Briggs, Central will be represented at state by Rachel Norris and Sammy Jordan in singles.
Both players earned must-win victories in the consolation bracket to assure themselves a berth in the state meet, then faced each other in the fifth-place match. Norris won that contest 6-4, 6-2.
Central’s other doubles team of freshmen Morgan Hauserman and Meg Johnson lost in a super tiebreaker in the quarterfinals to McVay and Schartz, then had their season end with a loss in the consolation bracket.
“I’m very proud of Rachel Norris,” Goll said. “It’s her senior year, and it will be the first time she’s qualified for state, and she has a regional team title to go with it. It will also be Sammy’s first trip to state, and she and Rachel have worked hard all year to make each other better.
“As good as I feel for Rachel and Sammy, I feel that bad for our freshmen, losing on a super tiebreaker to a team that made the finals. It’s been a good year and they got some valuable experience.”
Thursday, October 14, 2011
5A STATE Preview
A MATCHED PAIR
They never back down but always back each other.
That, in a nutshell, is what makes Gabrielle Briggs and MacKenzie Morris one of the best doubles teams in the state of Kansas this fall.
The Salina Central teammates will complete what has already been a successful season when they compete at the Class 5A girls state tennis tournament starting today at Goddard High School.
Briggs, a junior, and Morris, a sophomore, share not only a talent in tennis, but have similar personalities that make them compatible on the court.
“We’re kind of the same person,” Briggs said. “We like to work hard for our goals, and we are both very determined. We know what we need to do to take care of business on the court.”
It’s that determination and work ethic that has impressed head coach Mike Goll, who paired the young Mustangs as doubles partners early in the 2010 season and has found no reason to separate them since.
“When it comes to competitiveness, both of them are from the same mold,” said Goll. “They are good for a reason. They are good, hard workers.
“Their competitive spirit is equaled by nobody. They never look for the easy way out. They take the path that is going to make them better.”
That path began a little more than a year ago when Briggs was paired with Morris, a freshman playing at the high school level for the first time. In her first season with the Mustangs, Briggs had played doubles with MacKenzie’s older sister, Abby Morris, and finished third at the Class 5A state tournament in 2009.
“After having her play with my sister, I knew I had big shoes to fill,” Morris said. “Coming into high school I never imagined I’d play doubles, but when I played a couple of matches with Gabby, I realized I liked having a partner.
“I’m kind of a head case, and I need someone to keep me motivated and help me get to a goal.”
Despite going 30-4 and finishing fifth at their first state tournament together, Briggs and Morris were not the best doubles team at Central a year ago. They practiced with and against former Central standouts Ashley DeTurk and Kelsey Hauserman, who were 5A state runners-up in 2009 and placed fourth as seniors a year ago.
Finishing fifth at state in their first season together proved to be just the spark Briggs and Morris needed leading into their second year.
“After we took fifth at state last year, we were thirsty for more,” Briggs said. “We were hungry to place better and knew with our skills and the chemistry that we could have it.”
They’ve put together a record of 30-1 this season, winning every tournament they’ve entered except one. Their lone loss came in early September against Melinda Johnson and Lauren Huddlestun of St. Thomas Aquinas. Johnson and Huddlestun are unbeaten (34-0) and will be the top seed at this weekend’s state tournament.
Briggs and Morris have had their share of one-sided victories this season. Earlier this week, on the way to a 5A regional title, all three of their matches ended with identical 6-0, 6-1 scores.
But that’s not fun for the Mustang duo. Fun is facing an opponent that puts up a fight. They are likely to get that this weekend.
“The thing we want to do is meet St. Thomas Aquinas in the finals,” Morris said. “They have a very good team, and after we played them earlier this year, that loss hit us hard.
“We like playing teams like that. Not only because of our competitive nature, but because it’s fun to play a team where you have long points and every point is a battle.”
They want to focus on today’s opening round opponent and a likely appearance in the quarterfinals later today. They won’t approach today’s competition as if they have a free pass into the Saturday’s semifinals.
They talk about taking each match one point, one game, one set at a time. They also admit getting to the state championship match would be a true accomplishment.
“We know we can make it to the top four and then the next two matches would be very tough,” Briggs said. “I don’t see us anywhere but the championship, and I’ve got my eyes on the prize — nothing else.
“I can even picture it ... us winning and running together to celebrate. But the big thing is taking it one match at a time. That’s what we always say, ‘Let’s get this one ... one, one, one.’ Always focusing on that with an eye on the big picture.”
“I don’t think there is any way we could be disappointed with second or third place,” Morris said. “As long as we finish better than we did last year, and we feel like we played our best.”
That might normally be the end of her thought, but after a short pause, that competitive nature rises again.
“But I want that first place,” Morris adds, not so much as an afterthought, but as a defining statement.
Friday & Saturday , October 15-16, 2011
BRIGGS, MORRIS FINISH THIRD AT STATE
GODDARD — The last thing MacKenzie Morris wanted to do Saturday morning after walking off the court with a semifinal loss was to get back on the horse and play for third place.
Morris and Salina Central partner Gabrielle Briggs had just seen their Class 5A state title hopes dashed with a straight-set loss to Wichita Kapaun’s Rachael Baldwin and Elizabeth Pringle, but they still weren’t done.
“After that match, I was really down,” said Morris, a sophomore. “What really helped a lot was having my sisters here because they’d been there, done that.
“They told me I could sit here and pout or go out and play.”
Amanda Morris won a state doubles title for Central in 2003 and Abby Morris placed third in doubles with Briggs two years ago.
Their pep talk worked as MacKenzie Morris and Briggs jumped on Andover’s Mel Mihelic and Abby White early in the third-place match, breezing through the first set then coming back to force a tiebreaker in the second for a 6-1, 7-6 (7-1) victory.
“I’m happy with the way we finished,” Briggs said. “It would definitely have been nice to have the crowd cheering for us at the end (in the finals) and would have been a great feeling to be the champions.
“We finished the season well by taking third as a sophomore and junior, just we wanted more.”
Baldwin and Pringle went on to win the championship, edging Wichita Carroll’s Anne Feldkamp and Paige Lauer, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, and avenging a loss in last week’s regional final. It was a clean sweep for Kapaun, with Abby Stevens beating St. Thomas Aquinas’ Natalie Looney, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0, for the singles crown and the Crusaders running away with the team title.
Kapaun won with 48 points to 361⁄2 for runner-up Carroll. Central was fifth with 141⁄2 points and Salina South eighth with 11 on the strength of a ninth-place singles finish by Marisa Mitchell and 10th place in doubles from Cassidy Cook and Molly Courbot.
Briggs and Morris, who dropped a total of two games Friday in their first two matches, never found a groove in the semis. After a combined three service breaks to open the match, Baldwin finally held for a 3-1 advantage and Central couldn’t get it back.
Baldwin and Pringle got a key break of Briggs at 2-2 in the second set and quickly closed it out.
“We just never got going,” Briggs said.
Briggs and Morris got off to a better start in the third-place match, immediately breaking White, then bouncing back from 15-40 on Briggs’ serve and eventually opening a 4-0 lead. They kept the momentum into the second set, winning the first three games before briefly unraveling.
Mihelic and White rallied to even it at 3-3, and at 5-5 took their first lead with a break. They saved one break point in the next game, but a winner from Briggs at the net, followed by a Morris volley forced the tiebreaker.
In the tiebreaker, a couple of errors by White paved the way for a 5-0 Briggs and Morris lead, and three points later it was over.
“Breaking to get to the tiebreaker gave us a lot of momentum, and once we got a few points in the tiebreaker, it really settled our nerves,” Briggs said.
For South, Cook and Courbot battled through three Saturday matches with Courbot nearly immobile after tweaking a knee injury the previous day. They fell 9-2 to Hays’ Bonnie McRae and Emily Wyse, but bounced back to beat Topeka West’s Brett Fair and Laura Dicus, 9-4, before losing 9-5 in the ninth-place match to Kalyn Heyen and Sophi McArthur of Shawnee Mission Miege.
“It was hard because I know I can play better,” said Courbot, a sophomore, who already had a knee surgery scheduled for later this week. “I just had to gut it out and ignore the pain and not let the opportunity pass me by.”
Cook, a junior, understood.
“That was the hard part,” she said of Courbot’s injury. “We just had to struggle and get through it.
“I was happy with the way we finished.”
Mitchell, another sophomore, improved two spots on her 11th-place finish of a year ago. She lost 9-0 to fifth-place finisher Courtney Lubbers of Carroll in the consolation quarterfinal, but bounced back nicely to knock off Blue Valley Southwest’s Taylor Westrom, 9-1, and Aquinas’ Adreanne Orlanes, 9-5, for ninth place.
“I was happy, especially with the depth in singles this year,” Mitchell said. “Moving up two spots was huge for me, just to improve.
“I thought I played pretty well the whole tournament.”
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