GENEVA – Granted a rare reprieve to leave Tuesday’s dual early, most St. Charles East girls tennis players departed shortly after reporting their scores.
Saints juniors Haydyn Jones and Kelsie Roberton also aspired to freshen up before East’s homecoming week festivities. Too bad Geneva counterparts Margo Hess and Joanie Educate were running the baseline – and interference.
Jones and Roberton scrambled for the team bus once they finished a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory at No. 2 doubles, exhaling with the final result of East’s 5-2 win in Upstate Eight Conference River Division play.
In the name of competitive tennis, they had forgotten about their matching agendas for a time. Hess and Educate certainly helped.
“We had such a tough match, it was tough to think about anything else,” Roberton said. “We’re just glad we pulled it out. It will make the night a lot better.”
East (8-3, 4-0 UEC River) officially clinched the victory when the third doubles team of seniors Meghan Gauthier and Kellie Sciurba downed the Vikings’ Liz Fallon and Nicole Leskun, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
Smiling Saints coach Sena Drawer hurried from the benches into the courts to give Gauthier and Sciurba the news. The pair realized theirs was one of two remaining matches for much of the evening, but never expected they were playing for so much.
“I would have been more nervous,” Sciurba said. “I’m glad coach didn’t tell us.”
Saints junior Sarah Church sensed the urgency as her team looked to stay unbeaten in conference play entering Thursday’s dual at two-time defending league champion Batavia.
Swiveling her attention from the No. 2 doubles court on her left and the No. 3 court on her right, she shouted support amid a dwindling crowd.
The Vikings (8-6, 3-2) stuck around, aching for either remaining match to turn after Kirby Einck (No. 1) and Emma Hazel (No. 2) swept separate singles victories, 6-0, 6-0.
Fallon and Leskun nearly rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the third set, one of several encouraging signs for coach Maureen Weiler.
“We had a chance to win the dual with those last two matches, but you know what, we were in it,” Weiler said. “We’ve been preaching those competitive matches, and you can’t get much more competitive than going to three sets. It’s nice to see the girls playing that solidly, and hopefully they’re peaking for [state] tournament time.”
Postseason success also looms large on East’s agenda during a resurgent season, but first comes the ultimate barometer – Batavia (15-2, 3-0).
“I have a feeling we’ll do good. Our team is really good this year, I feel like,” said the Saints’ Jaci Spoerl, a 6-4, 6-1 winner at third singles. “I think we’re going to do great.
“And it’s homecoming week, so we’re all pumped up.”