Trojan girls open conference tournamentSEC Tennis
The Trojan girls’ tennis team kicked off the Southeast Conference tournament and the postseason Monday with a pair of runner-up finishes in singles play.
Sophomore Karley Williams and senior Courtney Laux both claimed second place in their respective spots with runs to the championship round. Senior teammate Haylee Gilpin settled for third place with a win in consolation play.
The three players provided the highlights of an otherwise mediocre start for the Trojans. Head coach Heidi Grunwald wasn’t sure the Trojans gave their best effort on a day when they needed all the help they could get.
“Some of us could have probably done better,” said Grunwald. She added, “I knew it was going to be tough because we haven’t won [any meets] in the conference.”
Williams, who is the lone sophomore on the senior-packed varsity roster, opened the day with an 8-4 victory over Mount Pleasant’s Shelby Barton before falling to Keokuk’s Autumn Schulte 8-2 in the No. 2 championship match. At No. 5, Laux earned an 8-6 win over Mount Pleasant’s Ashton Whaley, then lost to Fort Madison’s Kassidy Horner 8-2 in the finals.
Gilpin, who dropped an 8-5 match in her opener to Keokuk’s Jenna Kite, scored for Fairfield with an 8-3 win over Fort Madison’s Taylor Powell in the consolation round at No. 1 singles.
Rachel Hathaway failed to win a match and placed fourth at No. 4, but she made it interesting in her consolation match. After falling behind 6-3, Hathaway rallied back to force an 8-all tiebreaker. The senior ultimately fell in the extra period 7-1.
“Rachel really did well there coming back and coming close to winning. She was way back in that match,” said Grunwald.
Fairfield No. 3 Kim O’Carroll and Hanna Kerr, the team’s No. 6, also lost their matches in singles play.
Grunwald noted her Trojans, who trailed all three visiting teams in the point standings headed into doubles action, had the ability to rebound in the tournament’s second half.
“Hopefully we’ll do better in doubles,” said Grunwald. “We’ve got a No. 2 seed and a No. 3, and hopefully our No. 1 team [Gilpin and O’Carroll] will pull it out.”
Full results of the SEC tournament, which was in the midst of doubles action at press time, will appear in Tuesday’s edition of The Ledger.