Girls Tennis: East Ridge sweeps Tartan in section play
East Ridge 7, Tartan 0
Seniors Sidney Zavoral and Molly Seif were walking around East Ridge High School on Thursday, Oct. 4 with smiles on their faces because they knew the meaning of the day.
It was section tournament day.
On Thursday, the Raptors started their section play as they swept Tartan 7-0 for a spot in the quarterfinals.
For Zavoral and Seif, they aren't used to having sections in the early part of October. This is the first year the two of them decided to take up girls tennis.
"We just decided this past summer to take up the sport," Zavoral said. "It looked fun and I wish I would've done it earlier in high school."
The two started off on the junior varsity team, but they excelled some much that at the halfway point of the season they were brought up to varsity.
The first varsity match went well for the two of them in No. 3 doubles that they were switched to No. 2 doubles later on in the season.
"We knew how strong this tennis program has been for a number of years and we wanted to contribute in the best way," Seif said. "We work well together for doubles and that's what helped us win a few matches in season."
The duo worked hard in a third set tiebreaker on Thursday night to earn the victory over Tartan to capture the seventh and final point for the Raptors.
In each of the seven matches on Thursday, every single first set was won by East Ridge. That confidence and momentum led into the second set where every match besides the No. 2 doubles was won in two straight sets.
The Raptors are starting to reach their peak at the right time, which is making head coach Jon Rydberg happy. He said the doubles pairings are starting to work together well and it's transferring to the courts for wins.
"We just focus on one match at a time and it helps us not feel pressure for the future," Rydberg said. "These girls have been working together really well this season and it's fun to see during section play."
Since East Ridge won on Thursday, the Raptors will continue in the section tournament with Henry Sibley coming up next. The two teams will square off on Friday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m. at Henry Sibley High School.
The two of them played each other this regular season and Rydberg said it helped with learning the team better. Now, the Raptors just need to make some adjustments to what they learned the first time this season.
The other main aspect is the lineup cards. Rydberg will have to make a lineup card before Friday's match to give the Raptors the best chance to win and continue on in the section tournament.
East Ridge will be losing a player for Friday's match, so the lineup will change a little bit to accommodate that missing player. Rydberg said he's not worried about the changes because the Raptors have had to do that all season, so they know how to adjust well.
"It will be a good match on Friday," Rydberg said. "It'll be two good teams fighting to keep their season alive for one more match."
Lake City 7, New Life Academy 0
The Eagles season has come to an end as they were swept in the first round of the section tournament on Thursday night. The program has continued to progress throughout the season and head coach Marcia Bussey is excited to see what the future holds for the program.
The numbers were small this season, but she's hoping some interest will come next season to build numbers and continue a strong program in the future.
Tartan 4, Park 3
It was a close match between Park and Tartan and it came down to the final doubles match to determine a winner in the first round of the section tournament.
The No. 1 doubles pairing was tied as each team took home a set. Tartan won the first set and Park came back to win the second, so the two pairings were heading to a deciding third set.
Park was up 5-2 in the third set, but weren't able to hold off Tartan as the Wolfpack fell 7-5 for Tartan to capture the fourth point and advance to the next round.
Park had its season end on Tuesday night.
Head coach Tony Townsend said it was a learning opportunity and he was proud of how the girls handled the situation. They acted mature and are determined to be back there next season, but this time with a different result.
"This season has been so much fun because all the girls encouraged each other and learned from each other," Townsend said. "Now, we just need to keep building numbers for next season."
Townsend said he's planning a couple tennis camps to bring interest to the sport this offseason. The goal is to bring numbers up, so there can be a junior varsity team next season and the program can continue to build.
He's excited about the future because of how young this season's team was and how many will be returning for next season. He can't wait for next year to come around because he's looking forward to working with the group of girls again.