In its season-opening match against Harbor Springs, the Alpena girls tennis team won only one of the four singles matches, but made up for that with a sweep of the four doubles matches in a 5-3 win against the Rams Thursday in Alpena.
All four of Alpena's doubles teams won in straight sets to lead the way to the victory.
"I'm happy with a lot of stuff that I saw," said Alpena coach Charlie Giordano. "This is only our third day outside so we haven't had a ton of time. But they did a nice job of taking care of the ball and trying to let the other team make errors. Harbor Springs is in a rebuilding process, but we still had a job to do - put the ball in play with the serve and they kept those girls moving around. They did what they were supposed to do."
News Photo by Chris Dobrowolski
Alpena’s Kayla Shupert returns a shot from Harbor Springs’ Sara Knoodle in the No. 4 singles match Thursday at Alpena High School.
The No. 2 doubles team of Megan Jackson and Elyssa Barrow had the most decisive win, taking a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Harbor's Kallie Hanson and Elle Tompkins. The other doubles winners for Alpena were Katie Reynolds and Megan Miller, who posted a 7-6, 7-5 victory against Shelby Fleming and Lily Dart at No. 1; Kelsey Lightner and Heather Rouleau, who took a 6-1, 7-5 victory from Lauren Kopka and Ashley Rauto at No. 3; and Ting Chen and Amanda Sumerix, who won 6-4, 7-6 over Maggie Kane and Grace Carbook at No. 4.
Alpena's lone singles win came at No. 3, where Allison Blade took down Anna Asbury in convincing fashion 6-1, 6-4.
Alpena's Ashley Giordano bounced back from a slow start at No. 1 singles to give Harbor's Emily Miller a tough match, but ultimately fell 6-3, 7-5.
The No. 2 singles match saw Katie Flemington fall to Nicole Sheppard 6-2, 6-1.
The No. 4 singles match was the most exciting of the day, though, as Alpena's Kayla Shupert and Harbor Springs' Sara Knoodle battled through three tough sets, with Knoodle coming away with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 win after she pulled away from Shupert in the last few games of the final set.
Besides battling their opponents, the players had to fight through strong gusts that made them a factor on a number of shots.
"With the wind it's hard," said Charlie Giordano. "The wind is the great equalizer and it put pressure on the players."
Alpena returns to action on Tuesday, when it takes part in the Up North Invitational in Traverse City.
Chris Dobrowolski can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5694.