BATAVIA – St. Charles East edged Batavia, 4-3, in a pivotal Upstate Eight Conference girls tennis dual Tuesday behind a tight win from Jamie Youngberg and Emily Russell at No. 3 doubles.
With the dual tied at 3-all, all eyes were on Youngberg and Russell’s match against Caroline Lantz and Julianne Robinson of Batavia. The Saints’ duo rallied to a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 win, as East exhaled.
“I knew it was going to be either 3-4 or 4-3,” Saints coach Sena Drawer said. “We decided with the girls on the bus that we needed to win at least one of the singles matches. We had to win three doubles matches. Once [Youngberg and Russell] got that second set, you could see that momentum swing. It was fun to watch. Once they got a little more determined, they were like, ‘We’re doing this.’ ”
For Youngberg and Russell, the less they knew down the stretch, the better.
“We had no idea it was for the team win. I’m really glad they didn’t tell us,” Russell said. “When we found out at the end, it made it all worth it. It made us so glad that we could help our team out.”
Added Youngberg: “That was nerve-racking, but really fun at the same time. It’s always fun to play with a purpose. We both didn’t know this was the deciding match.”
St. Charles East improved to 7-1 (4-0 UEC River). Batavia, the three-time defending conference champion, fell to 3-3 and 1-2.
For the Bulldogs, the meet was too similar to the Geneva dual meet last week, where it came down to what happened at No. 2 doubles.
“I’m not happy with the way it turned out. I think we’re a better team than that,” Batavia coach Brad Nelson said. “The way we’ve lost is what I don’t like. It’s a repeat of Geneva. We lose two deciding matches when we have the lead late and give up the lead. Too many mistakes.”
At No. 1 singles, Nora McClure of Batavia defeated Sarah Church of East, 6-2, 6-2.
“I knew it was going to be a long one with long points. Today, I was just trying to be as consistent as possible and get every ball back that I could,” McClure said.
At second singles, East’s Jaci Spoerl beat Annie Maren of Batavia, 6-2, 6-1.
Megan Garvin of Batavia won third singles against Erin Sullivan, 6-2, 6-1.
At first doubles, Batavia’s Jenny Mizikar and Amelia Cogan defeated Haydyn Jones and Kelsie Roberton, 6-2, 6-0. Mizikar earned her 113th career win, and has her sights set on friend Hannah Potter, the program’s all-time victories leader with a record of 115-30.
“I believe I can do it either way, so I want to extend it even more. One match at a time,” Mizikar said.
East’s second doubles team of Alexa Huskisson and Carly Huskisson beat Sydnee Unterberg and Brook LeFevre of Batavia, 6-2, 6-3.
“We were really excited to win because we knew Batavia was going to be a tough match so we just tried to do our best,” Carly Huskisson said.
At fourth doubles, Katie Downing and Kelly Rinker of East defeated Dana Krella and Ashlyn Turner of Batavia, 6-2, 6-4.
Each result set up the drama on the No. 3 doubles court.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these girls,” Drawer said. “This is a huge win for us. Every one of them got out there. They knew we had a mission. They have really wanted this. They want to really win conference this year.”