CLINTON — Following a state championship last year, the Clinton girls’ tennis team returned home hoping to repeat what it did in 2013.
And they’re off to a fine start.
Clinton defended its home court by defeating Mississippi Athletic Conference rival Bettendorf 5-4, thanks to some late wins during singles play.
Despite seeing the top three singles players for the River Queens falling, the wins from Gabby Haan, Shannon Shovlain and Riley Hubbart kept the River Queens in tact.
Haan won her match in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. It took Shovlain awhile to defeat Bettendorf’s Hannah Borgh, but her 10-8 back-and-forth tiebreaker got her the win. She lost the first set 6-3, but followed it up with another tightly contested 7-6 set.
“Shannon started slow, but she bounced back and did a great job,” Coach Rasche said. “She came on like a ghostbuster today.”
Hubbart won her match in near domination, winning over Stephanie Moore 6-1, 6-0.
“She performs phenomenally for a freshman,” Rasche said.
The top three singles matches didn’t fare too well, but they were up against good competition. Griffin Rasche lost her match after winning the first set, 6-3, but dropped the final two matches to Emilia Porducin 6-4 and 10-3 in the tiebreaker.
The No. 2 match featured Dana Waterman against Clinton’s Jordan Nelson, Waterman won 6-1, 6-0. Samantha Brisch also fell in straight sets.
Meanwhile, the doubles wins from Nelson/Rasche and Shovlain/Hubbart were the matches that Clinton needed to keep its week, and season, on a perfect path.
Clinton coach Cindy Rasche said about the Nelson/Rasche doubles match over Porducin and Haley Bankson: “They played a great tiebreaker that really was huge for us scoring-wise. We were really blessed that they came through; I knew they were going to be ready for their doubles match.
“They always come focused and ready to get it done,” Rasche said.