BOURBON — A lot of factors were working against Triton tennis in its opener with North Judson-San Pierre.
With a mostly inexperienced lineup in 2019, three of the Lady Trojans’ four returning letter winners were on vacation for Wednesday’s meet. One of the team’s key newcomers, Maddie Ritchison, was battling illness. Plenty went wrong for Triton in the 5-0 Hoosier North Athletic Conference loss, but coach Al Peckham saw plenty of positives, too.
“I have three players that would be playing varsity at 1 singles and 1 doubles this year, and they are on vacation for spring break. Maddie Ritchison, who did some work out at the Warsaw Racquet Club, was playing 1 tonight, but then she came back sick. You can tell that she wasn’t 100 percent,” explained Peckham.
“But I feel like even with the short-handedness, we actually had some good, positive starts in certain areas. We held our own, I thought, in a lot of points.”
With Emma Hepler and Matisyn Davis out for spring break, the Trojans were forced to simply forfeit a point at 2 doubles. Peckham shuffled Davis’ likely 2 doubs partner, Haley Hooley, over to 3 singles, where she took four games from Judson’s Addie Harper before falling 6-2, 6-2. Lilly Hubert and Sadie Barber — two total newcomers to the sport — lost their 1 doubles match with Alex Trout and Miranda Anderson, 6-1, 6-0, but Peckham saw potential there.
With projected 1 singles player Molly McFarland also out on vacation, Maddie Ritchison bumped up to battle Courtney Trusty at the top singles spot and lost another 6-1, 6-0 decision, but took Trusty to deuce numerous times gutting out illness. And with Ritchison playing up a spot, Ivy Powell did likewise at 2 singles, where she mostly held her own with Cora Sallee before succumbing 6-3, 6-1.
It wasn’t a win, but with so much working against the Trojans versus a veteran Judson lineup returning nearly its entire top seven from 2018, it was a heartening sign for Triton. The Trojans will get another shot at the Bluejays in an HNAC rematch at Judson later this month when they’re back to full strength, and Peckham could see some match points going the other direction.
“I was just imagining in my mind here some of the match-ups with what I saw tonight. I was looking at from last year’s results to this year,” Peckham said. “Molly I think can be in her match. Maddie against their 2, there 2 was a good wall player, but I think she can move her around a little bit. And then I think Ivy should be a lot better at 3 against this girl. I could see a good, tough battle with them the second time around.”
While Judson opens 1-0 overall and in the HNAC, Triton starts its season at 0-1 both overall and in the conference. The Trojans will be back in action in another Hoosier North home meet next Monday, when Knox comes to Bourbon.
“I just know that we’re going to get better. My mind works to the point where I can visualize where we could be at, and I could see us being alright from what I’ve seen in practices and what we have,” Peckham said.