The first time the Lady Hawks competed against Lutheran a few weeks ago, the girls fought well and played consistently to take a 4-1 victory over Lutheran. But we also knew that Lutheran would be back for a second chance against that victory later in the season, knowing we would meet again in the opening round of the Marion County Tournament. And Lutheran did their research, because the Lady Hawks had to fight to pull away with the same results as the first time.
But, despite setbacks and difficulties in keeping momentum, the girls were able to pull off a close 3-2 victory over Lutheran to advance to the next round of the tournament, proving once again that staying grounded and mental toughness can remedy any such setback.
Many matches were close. Two matches went into third sets. Three matches had tiebreakers to decide one of the two sets. And one had both a third set AND a tiebreaker. It was truly a close match filled with tense back and forth between both sides.
First off was #1 doubles. Yennie Tran and Taylor O’Dell managed to walk away with a clean 6-3, 6-3 victory over junior Julia Peterson and senior Haley Harris, bringing in Decatur’s first point.
Shortly after came back-to-back drops for Decatur. #2 singles Tori Heighton battled a tough first set and forced a first set tiebreaker, but was unable to capitalize on her opponent, senior Elise Miller. But, due to sickness over the weekend and a difficulty breathing, Heighton ended up falling to Miller 6-7 (2-7), 1-6, bringing in Lutheran’s first point.
#1 singles Alex Sumpter also fell after a long, well-fought match against her opponent. After a 3-6 drop in the first set, Sumpter was able to take a 3-0 lead. Eventually, Lutheran’s Maddie Awrey made a comeback and forced Sumpter’s hand to take a 4-3 lead. Sumpter fought cat and mouse into a second set tiebreak, which eventually ended in defeat, falling to Awrey 3-6, 6-7 (3-7), giving Lutheran their second point.
It came down to the other two matches, both of which had to play third sets to decide the match.
#2 doubles Samantha Schick and Lia Burton struggled to find rhythm against Lutheran in the first set, dropping 3-6. Then, after some resets and a new breath the team was able to come back and take 4 straight games on a 3-2 lead to take the second set and force a third on their opponents. In the third set, it was a game of cat and mouse as well, with neither team going more than 2 games ahead. It came down to a 4-5 deficit with Lutheran serving for the match. “Slam” managed to string four straight points and break back for a 5-5 tie! Then, after forcing a third set tiebreak, “Slam” managed to pull away with a win over senior Mollie Graham and sophomore Jocey Sneed 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).
Shortly after, the last match was decided. #3 singles Izzy Ison rocked the house taking a quick 6-1 set over junior Alexis Skojac. But, after recalibrating, Skojac was able to come back and force a third set. It came down to Ison returning with a 5-4 lead to take the match. And after a few deuces, Ison was able to take the final break and the match to escape a third set tiebreak 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, giving Decatur the third and final point to win the match and advance to the second round of county.
The girls have been working hard to prove that they can outlast anything. And tonight was a great example of that. The Lady Hawks compete tomorrow evening in the second round of the county tournament against the winner between Park Tudor and Perry Meridian. Go Hawks!