The South Tama County girls tennis team traveled to Grinnell on Tuesday and quickly found itself locked into an epic battle with the Tigers.
The outcome of the match came down to a final doubles match between STC's Kendra Bradley/Madison Baack and Grinnell's Ellie Havlik/Lilly Hamilton. The duo from STC prevailed in a super tiebreaker to clinch a 6-5 win for the visiting Trojans.
STC senior Kendra Bradley gave a gritty, gut-wrenching performance as she prevailed at No. 1 singles over Ellie Havlik in a marathon match. Bradley won in a super tiebreaker 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (3). Sophomore Madison Baack was locked into a tough battle at No. 2 singles against Grinnell's Chelsey Youngman. Baack played well, but suffered a 6-4, 7-5 loss.
STC senior Kendra Bradley, left, returns a serve during a doubles match last week at a home match. Bradley was playing doubles with senior Sarah Holtz. On Tuesday, Bradley helped the Trojans beat Grinnell with big wins as a singles player and a doubles team with sophomore Madison Baack.
Sophomore Emily Martin got the winning back on track as she trounced Lily Hamilton at No. 3 singles. She recorded a 6-1, 6-4 victory for the Trojans. Grinnell's Lily Cook was too much for Senior Sarah Holtz at No. 4 singles. Cook posted a 6-2, 6-2 win.
South Tama Senior Sierra Old Bear faced Jackie Johnson at No. 5 singles. Johnson outpaced Old Bear to win 7-5, 6-3. STC Senior Alexandrah Walker evened things on the night as she defeated Jessa Bidwell 6-2, 6-1 to end singles play.
Seniors Aubree McFate and Blair Bridges set the tone in doubles with a 7-5, 5-7, 1-0 (4) win over Hannah Whitney and Eleanor Lopatto. Old Bear/Walker helped STC build a lead by winning 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 over Bidwell/Burkett. At No. 3 doubles, the team of Holtz/Regina Balderas fought hard but fell 6-1, 7-5 to Grinnell's Cook/Caprisse Honsbruch.
Tori Appelgate and Emily Martin teamed up for the Trojans at No. 2 doubles. They faced a tough team in Youngman/Johnson from Grinnell. The young team from STC jumped to an early lead by securing the first set. Youngman/Johnson seized the second set to force a super tiebreaker. The Tigers escaped with a narrow 11-9 win the super tiebreaker.
Tied 5-5, the night's outcome came down to the match at No. 1 doubles between STC's Bradley/Baack and Grinnell's Havlik/Hamilton. The team from Grinnell grabbed the first set 7-6 (6) in a tiebreaker. STC stormed back from being down early in the second to grab a 7-5 victory and force a super tiebreaker. With very little light left, Bradley/Baack raced to a quick lead in the super tiebreaker only to see Havlik/Hamilton fight back to even things. Bradley held serve to secure the win for the Trojans 11-9 in the super tiebreaker. STC downed Grinnell 6-7 (6), 7-5, 1-0 (9) to help the Trojans to a 6-5 overall victory.
On Monday, STC traveled to Marion on Monday for a non-conference matchup. The Indians escaped with a narrow 5-4 victory over the visiting Trojans.
STC Senior Kendra Bradley put on a dazzling performance as she crushed Joiah Bandfield at No. 1 Singles 8-1.
"Kendra played so well," head coach Steve Bearden said. "She thought her way through that match point by point. I'm very proud of her effort. She forced her opponent into numerous unforced errors and she capitalized when she needed to. Bandfield comes from a tennis family. She has a lot of experience. This was a great win for Kendra."
Sophomore Madison Baack fell at No. 2 Singles by a score of 8-5 to Marion's Jessica Thomas. Fellow Sophomore Emily Martin won at No. 3 Singles for the Trojans as she downed Alyssa Jones 8-1. Marion's Sidney Larson proved too tough at No. 4 Singles for South Tama's Sarah Holtz. Larson was an 8-4 winner for the host squad.
Sierra Old Bear faced Kim Spurlin at No. 5 Singles. Spurlin's steady game propelled her to an 8-5 victory. STC Senior Alexandrah Walker evened the meet at three wins a piece after singles play. She defeated Megg Halverson by an 8-1 score.
In doubles action, Baack/Martin lined up for STC at No. 2 Doubles. They faced Jones/Larson from Marion. The duo from STC found themselves down early in the match by a 3-0 score. Steadying their game, Baack/Martin raced back to win the match 8-5.
At No. 3 Doubles, Old Bear/Walker found themselves on the wrong end of a 8-4 score against Marion's Spurlin/Halverson. With both teams winning four matches, the meet came down to the final match at No. 1 Doubles. South Tama's Bradley/Holtz took on Bandfield/Thomas. The wind proved to be a factor as it played havoc with both team's serves. The duo from Marion adjusted best as they grabbed an 8-3 win in order to secure the meet for the host school.
"It's a tough loss. We hadn't played in four days and it showed. I know we will rebound and continue to have a great season," said Bearden.
In junior varsity action, STC easily handled Marion as they built a dominating 11-3 win.
STC next faces NU High at Tama at 4:15 p.m. Friday. They will participate in the N. Polk Tournament on Saturday.