With No. 1 singles player Lindsey Gosse out due to an elbow injury, first-year head coach Lindsay Harrison-Eirich needed other members of the Sheboygan North girls tennis team to step up against host and crosstown rival Sheboygan South on Thursday. Did they ever.
The Golden Raiders got off to a fast start in doubles and North never looked back in supplying Harrison-Eirich with her first career victory over South 6-1 in the pair’s Fox River Classic Conference opener.
“It was a good confidence booster for me as a coach because it shows me that the hard work the girls have put in in the past couple of weeks has paid off,” said Harrison-Eirich, a former North tennis player who graduated in 2007. “I think the rivalry (with South) is always there and I think everyone gets fired up for it. The emotions were high and everyone came to play today.”
North’s doubles teams never trailed as No. 1 Allison Gress and Savannah Pond defeated Lauren Pfile and Sara Schrank 6-2, 6-1 while No. 2 Allison Pond and Abbie Flasher earned a 6-0, 6-4 win over Mimi Pulido and Sam Roelse.
At No. 3, doubles partners Erica Barringer and Claudia Stanskas defeated Jenn Leonhardt and Emma Sharpe 6-3, 6-1.
“It was good to start the (conference) season off strong and hopefully we can keep it going strong,” Flasher said. “(Beating South) feels really good because it’s such a huge rivalry between the two schools. (The win) felt good.”
With Gosse out, North’s Lily Bohn got the start at No. 1 singles and topped Alisha Ziegler 6-2, 6-1.
The No. 2 and No. 3 singles matches were each 6-0, 6-0 victories for North, as Kayla Koren topped Ari Vorpahl in the No. 2 flight and Olivia Mobley defeated Courtney Trescher at No. 3.
“I think we are definitely up a notch from last year as far as being competitive. Playing (North) this year, although we didn’t win many matches, we won more games in the matches, so that’s good for us,” South coach Tammy Damrow said.
The most competitive match of the afternoon came at No. 4 singles, where Alex Stone emerged victorious over Abbey Perronne in a nearly three-hour contest that saw Stone win 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. Stone took control early in the third set and never relinquished as the pair battled well after the other matches had ended.
“I was just hoping to hit good shots, get good points and get my serve in,” Stone said, revealing she didn’t realize until the second set that her match was the final chance for the Redwings to gain a point. “I was kind of nervous and anxious about winning because of the big rivalry. I think it is a good thing (to have a difficult match early in the season) because if you start off hard you get used to the pressure and the hard matches and you can adjust.”
Damrow said Stone’s match, as well as what she saw overall, leads her to believe the future is bright for her squad in the coming season.
“Because we do have a number of seniors that have match experience, I think that will serve them well,” Damrow said. “They are so excited to be here. I think hopefully that enthusiasm will pay off. This is a competitive bunch.”
Singles — No. 1: Lily Bohn, SN, def. Alisha Ziegler 6-2, 6-1; No. 2: Kayla Koren, SN, def. Ari Vorpahl 6-0, 6-0; No. 3: Olivia Mobley, SN, def. Courtney Trescher 6-0, 6-0; No. 4: Alex Stone, SS, vs Abbey Perronne SN 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
Doubles — No. 1: Allison Gress-Savannah Pond, SN, def. Lauren Pfile-Sara Schrank 6-2, 6-1; No. 2: Allison Pond-Abbie Flasher, SN, def. Mimi Pulido-Sam Roelse 6-0, 6-4; No. 3: Erica Barringer-Claudia Stanskas, SN, def. Jenn Leonhardt-Emma Sharpe 6-3, 6-1