AKRON – Valley hasn’t had much time to get acclimated on the tennis courts this spring, but have already faced some adversity. A day after having rain halt a spirited season-opening match at Triton, the Tippy girls tennis team had to take its home courts Thursday against a strong Knox team with an equally impressive wind blowing right across the pitch.
Valley figured out the wind enough to play to its advantage and take a 3-2 win over the Redskins.
With Wednesday’s match at Triton suspended at 2-1 in favor of Triton, but his two remaining courts holding 3-2 leads sitting in 1-1 set ties, Valley head coach Andrew Luce had wanted some momentum for his club heading into a very busy stretch.
He got that Thursday from Hannah Parson, who collected a 6-1, 6-1 win in No. 2 singles play over Maddie Krueger.
The conditions were not easy as a plus-20 mile-per-hour wind whipped from the No. 1 singles court down, sending water bottles, granola bar wrappers and leaves scampering all which ways. A pile of warmup balls had collected near the edge of the JV doubles courts. Scorecards on the nets kept falling, causing conversations about who had two and who had one.
But life went on, and Parson’s win piggybacked a pair of doubles wins to start the day, with Kaitlin Neese and Haley Baker scoring a love and two final at No. 2 doubles against Paige Byer and Joie Grenner and Tiphanie Hodge and Makenna Bradley earning a two and two win at No. 1 doubles versus Hailey Thompson and Carissa Kulpa.
“We were really excited about last night, and the bus ride back was really positive, which was good for us coming into today,” Luce said. “We did talk about the wind today and emphasized keeping the ball in play and letting the opponent make the mistakes. I think that worked for us last night and now into today.”
Knox would find success in its No. 1 and No. 3 singles play. Madison Land made quick work of Mackenzie Costello at No. 1, love and two, while Emma Binkley really had to work in a rally over Gigi Engstrand, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (10).
Valley earned three JV courts against the Redskins, with winners coming from Mallory Durkes in singles and doubles duos from Kennedie Brooks and Andie Schwenger and Nataly Rodriguez and Evelyn Rodriguez.
“We’re really excited and pleased with where things have fallen these past two matches,” Luce said. “I think we’ll stick with what we have heading into week two with a busy week coming up. We feel like we have some athletes, but we are young. We really needed a win to believe that Valley can compete with three matches against good opponents next week.”
Valley (1-0) will host LaVille Tuesday and Whitko on Thursday.