GENEVA – All eyes were on the No. 2 doubles court, much to Geneva junior Shannon Foster’s chagrin.
Foster, playing alongside doubles partner Nicole Leskun, prefers the usual, low-key environs of No. 2 doubles. But with Tuesday’s conference dual match with rival Batavia tied at 3 and the No. 2 doubles match against Batavia’s Brooke LeFevre and Sydnee Unterberg the last match going, Foster and Leskun had center stage.
“No, I do not like everyone watching, so it was really tough for me,” Foster said. “I just thought about the feeling if we won for our entire team, and then it just got me through it.”
Foster and Leskun handled the pressure with aplomb, winning the only three-set match of the day, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, to supply the Vikings’ girls tennis team a 4-3 victory. It was Batavia’s first conference dual meet defeat since joining the Upstate Eight Conference River in 2010 and first conference dual loss overall since 2008, snapping a 26-match conference winning streak, according to Batavia coach Brad Nelson.
Foster and Leskun faced a 5-4 deficit in the decisive third set after LeFevre held serve for the Bulldogs but the Vikings won the next three games to close the match, punctuated by Leskun’s overhand winner for the final point.
“It was really difficult,” said Leskun, a senior. “They were really good opponents. They both did really good. It was tight.”
Vikings coach Maureen Weiler was proud of the duo’s ability to withstand periods of momentum for Batavia.
“You could see they tensed up a little bit but they pulled it back together,” Weiler said. “They’re beginning to have that confidence in each other, which you would expect when one’s a junior and one’s a senior, and they’ve been on varsity.”
Their win was Geneva’s lone doubles triumph but the Vikings (8-3, 3-0 UEC River) swept the three singles matches. Kirby Einck dominated Nora McClure at No. 1 singles, 6-0, 6-0, Grace Krueger handled Annie Maren at No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-0, and Elizabeth Prendergast beat Megan Garvin at No. 3 singles, 6-3, 6-1.
Krueger, a 5-foot-3 freshman, has been impressive early in her career, and said she’s benefited from battling Einck in practice.
“She’s a lot stronger than me, so it gives me a chance to play against people that are like that, and she gets to everything,” Krueger said.
“Playing against [opponents at No. 2 singles], I just try to work on my game, and with Kirby I also try to work on my game because I know it’s going to be hard to beat her.”
The Bulldogs posted wins at No. 1 doubles (Jenny Mizikar and Amelia Cogan), No. 3 doubles (Caroline Lantz and Julianne Robinson) and No. 4 doubles (Ashlyn Turner and Dana Krella).
Nelson still thinks his team can be a major factor in the conference race.
“I think this is far from over,” Nelson said. “I think St. Charles East is going to be a tough team to beat, and the [conference tournament] could be interesting because you could have a lot of people beating each other. We’ll have to see what happens.”