CLAY CENTER — The Concordia High School girls’ tennis team placed third in the Clay Center Invitational on Saturday.
Chapman won the meet with 48 points. Abilene finished second with 30 points and Concordia scored 25.
The Panthers got second-place finishes by Danielle Timme and Rachel Hasch in number one doubles and Autumn Zimmerman in number two singles.
Sara Hittle finished fifth in number one singles. Julie Gross and Sadie Mosher were fifth in number two doubles.
“We competed in a very good tournament, and came home in third place. I thought our girls competed very well today. We had a couple of second-place finishes and were able to win several close matches,” Concordia coach Steven Mitchell said, “It was a long day of tennis, which will help the girls prepare for their five matches at the league tournament in a couple of weeks. We have a few days to work on some problem areas and then have our big home invitational next.”
Timme and Hasch opened with a 6-3 win over Emily Brandt and Kellin Palmateer, Beloit.
They knocked off Mallory Olberding an Carly Wilson, Abilene, 6-3 before falling 6-1 to Brittany Duer and Jessie Heiman, Chapman.
The Concordia duo then shut out Rose Stuhlsatz and Madeline Muller, Alma, 6-0 and defeated Chloe Gaug and Emma Girtor, Clay Center, 6-2.
“Rachel and Danielle played doubles again today and went up against some very good teams. They won five of six matches for a second-place finish with their only loss to a very strong team from Chapman. They had a great match against Abilene where they were able to win the big points and pull away after being 3-3. They did miss several easy shots today, but played good strategy and showed good energy and movement. To become a really good team these two need to serve better and do a better job of mixing up their shot selection at times,” Mitchell said.
Zimmerman won her first two matches 6-4 over Jordan Bentz, Beloit, and 7-5 over Rachel Lillich, Abilene. She fell 6-3 to Brianna Elliot, Chapman, but then knocked off Delany Reves, Alma, 6-3 and Paige Richardson, Clay Center, 6-3.
“Autumn played singles for the first time this year today, and won five of her six matches. She played a lot of very close matches and really showed her determination in winning as many as she did. After a few jitters she started playing longer points and did a nice job of keeping the ball in play and making her opponents work. This was a strong performance by Autumn today,” Mitchell said.
Hittle got past Brianna Elsen, Beloit, 6-4 in her opening match. She then lost 6-1 to Marissa Schardein, Abilene; 6-1 to Rachel Sutter, Chapman; 6-3 to Bailee Henry, Alma; and 6-0 to Hannah Callan, Clay Center.
“Sara struggled at number one singles today. She wasn’t feeling her best and just didn’t seem to have much energy today. She battled hard and was able to pick up a win in what was a very strong number one singles field today. Sara is really hitting the ball hard, and has a very smooth stroke, but need to move a little better and become more consistent.”
Gross and Mosher were beaten 6-1 by Aubrey Wichers and Tori Farwell, Beloit; 7-6 (7-2) by Jayme Friederich and Brenna Barrett, Abilene; 6-0 by Katy Fink and Lauren Perry, Chapman; and 6-2 by Lillian Rizzo and Kaite Mayer, Alma. They slipped past Hannah Fowles and Jaden Wilcoxson, Clay Center, 7-5.
“Julie and Sadie battled hard all day and had a couple of really good matches. They just fell short in their match against Abilene, which was the best match I have seen us play at number two doubles this year. They were up a game a couple of times, but couldn’t get any momentum in the tiebreaker. They finished their day with a come from behind win against Abilene. After being down 5-2, they kept their heads in the match and battled back to win five straight games. These two girls really served and volleyed great today, but need to work on the placement of their returns to take the next step forward,” Mitchell said.