SOUTH WHITLEY — There was a sweet sigh of relief Tuesday evening in the parking lot of Whitko High School. The senior class could finally exhale as it picked up a win over Triton for the first time in its four seasons on the tennis courts for the Wildcats. Whitko downed the visiting Trojans 4-1 in an all-around competitive match on a very windy night.
“It’s a really nice win to get,” said first-year Whitko head coach Ben Ogden. “The girls really wanted this win. My seniors haven’t beaten Triton until now so they’re very excited. This is a tough team, my girls are excited. This is a great win for us.”
Morgan Keirn held down here No. 1 singles spot in style by defeating her friend from the racquet club, Kolbie Mason. Keirn won 7-5, 6-3 to help close out the Trojans. On the parallel court to Keirn and Mason was Delaney Keirn and Quinn Downing. That was another tight match that saw a Keirn girl come out on top as Delaney downed Downing 6-3, 6-4. Jackie Werstler made sure it was a clean sweep on the singles courts for the Wildcats with a 6-4, 6-2 defeat of Sierra Sauer.
The other triumph for the home team came on the No. 2 doubles courts with Jenna VanCuren and Manon Sonneville picking up a 6-3, 6-0 win.
“Morgan and Delaney both had big nights,” Ogden said. “Morgan fought back from an early deficit in the first half to come back and win 7-5. That was great fighting by her. Then our two doubles team had, probably, its best match of the year. They looked great.”
Triton has taken a step back from the team it has had the past few years, but head coach Al Peckham knows there was more at work Tuesday night than just a down year for his team.
“Whitko has really improved, quite a bit actually,” Peckham remarked. “I had a little stronger team last year, that makes a difference but this Whitko team showed some great improvement. They were into it, we made a few unforced errors and it comes down to two or three points here and there. We talk every year about how many matches are determined by six points It just depends on who gets those points sometimes. Tonight, Whitko earned those points.”
Peckham’s No. 1 doubles team of Hannah Wanemacher and Emma Ross remained undefeated on their season with a sweep of Gracie and Jessica Hook. The duo was 20-2 last season and shows no sign of slowing down in 2017.
“They’re just solid and they’re only juniors,” said Peckham. “They just keep improving. Last year they were all-district and honorable mention status. But this year, it depends on their run, they could be all state and that’s what then game plan is for them. They’re solid. They beat Rochester last night and Rochester was coming off a win over a good Eastern team.”
Whitko (7-1) returns to action Wednesday night and puts its 2-0 Three Rivers Conference record on the line against Rochester (5-1) with a 5 p.m. start. Triton (3-2) will travel to LaVille for a match starting at 4:30 p.m.
Whitko’s junior varsity defeated Triton with a full sweep, 5-0. Winning for the Wildcats were Natalie Iholtz, Blair Creamer, Kayla Schipper, and the doubles duo of Lilly Owsley and Mahkinsey Myers.