WARSAW – Playing a spring sport this season has required some kind of patience and fortitude. Warsaw’s Alyssa Zellers not only showed those traits Tuesday night, but also displayed some resiliency.
The sophomore No. 3 went down with leg cramps in the third set of her pivotal dual with Plymouth’s Miranda German, fought them off, then fought off German to claim the third win of Warsaw’s 3-2 triumph of Plymouth in matches played at the Warsaw Tennis & Fitness Center.
Zellers jumped out to a snappy 6-3 win in the first set on German, making plenty of headway on German’s second serves, which were roughly half the speed of her first serve. Able to pick her spots, Zellers rolled up easy return winners. But the big serves from German landed more in the second set, as did some clever placement deep in corners from the Pilgrim freshman that Zellers couldn’t answer, German taking the second set 6-3.
Zellers didn’t show much sign of trouble early in the third set, but went down midway through the set with leg cramps. Working out the kink, Zellers got up and took a 3-2 lead and held on, winning the court 6-4.
The win was key for the Tigers, as it clinched the team triumph. Warsaw had already built a 2-0 lead very quickly as both Liza Lewis at No. 1 and Ella Knight at No. 2 were fantastic in their court victories.
Lewis needed less than an hour to dispatch Cortni Cook one and love, having total control of her placement while Cook was on the run most of the matchup. Knight took advantage of Kyla Heckaman’s service troubles to sweep at love and love. Heckaman frequently resorted to a second serve, and the lob suited Knight just fine and she rifled return shots all over the court for winners.
“I noticed in warmups that (Heckaman) was struggling with power shots and stuff that was hit deeper, so I went with that,” Knight said, who added of the awful spring weather and delays, “This has been harder with school than any tennis. Knowing we could have a match every day for a while is tough to plan with schoolwork, or knowing that we could be getting home late, and from day to day, that’s been tougher.”
Plymouth matched Warsaw’s singles play with its doubles duos. The No. 1 group of McKenzie Scheetz and Leah Smith looked very coordinated in a one and two win over Rachel Boyle and Amy Herendeen. Smith played very well from the back line and complimented Scheetz’s movement as the two were able to counter most anything Warsaw threw at them.
Where Zellers’ win became paramount was with the No. 2 doubles result, as Plymouth closed the varsity play with a four and four win in the final showdown of the evening at the tennis complex. Mary Beatty and Audie Plothow of Plymouth matched up well with Reagan Merchant and Taylor Shoaf of Warsaw, both teams playing each other’s games during their matchup, whether it was lob ball or deep shots to the baseline.
The matchup was the first step into the Northern Lakes Conference for both clubs, Warsaw moving to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the NLC while Plymouth falls to 4-2 and 0-1. Warsaw is scheduled to play again Wednesday at Northridge.