The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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May 8, 2013

River Queens remain on top

(Continued)

In addition to the two doubles titles, Clinton claimed singles titles at No. 2 (senior Rubina Vidal) and No. 5 (Haan).

“I like playing doubles better, but singles went well, too,” Haan said.

“The key was No. 2 doubles,” Rasche said. “To take Assumption out of it -- they were coming right in the back door.”

For a team that took fourth in the state a year ago and had to replace three state placewinners from that squad, Tuesday’s crown was a special accomplishment.

“It means a lot,” Nelson said. “The past couple of years we’ve been first or second in the MAC, and we wanted to keep it up.”

Some rebuilding had to take place to do it.

Junior Griffin Rasche, who beat Emma Shie of Davenport Central 8-4 for third place in singles, returned at No. 1 singles, but coach Rasche had to replace the next three girls in the lineup. That meant more would be expected from Vidal and Haan, the other two returning starters; Nelson and Shovlain, who moved up from the junior varsity; and Brisch, a freshman.

“When we lost three seniors, I thought we’d not be at the top, but the new people played really hard. It’s really big,” Vidal said.

Everybody responded.

“We knew we had to step up, all of us, especially Sam, the freshman,” Nelson said.

All Brisch did was step into the No. 4 singles spot and take second in the conference. Fennelly beat her in a super tiebreaker 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (6) for first place.

“I wasn’t sure how it would end up (this season), but I’m proud of myself,” Brisch said.

Nelson and Shovlain also were pleased with the way they elevated their games.

“To be honest, yes,” Nelson said when asked if she was surprised by how well she’s played this season. “Last year, I was 10th; this year I’ve been second, then third. It’s a whole different thing.”

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