CLINTON – The River Queens tennis team had one last test before the regular season yields to the conference tournament and subsequent state qualifying meets.
They passed with flying colors.
Clinton defeated Mississippi Athletic Conference foe North Scott by a dominating 9-0 beneath the indoor ceiling at River Cities Tennis Association Tuesday night.
While the River Queens have impressed throughout the season to claim a 6-1 record in conference duals, coach Cindy Rasche said she is still noticing consistent improvements each time on the court.
"They are doing much better, they are more focused, they are figuring out how to hit the ball harder and be more aggressive," Rasche said. "That is always awesome to see, us being more assertive and confident."
Not only have the River Queens cranked out wins this season, but they have also secured several lopsided triumphs. In fact, Tuesday marked the fourth win in 9-0 shutout fashion. Clinton's closest margin of victory was a 5-4 result over Bettendorf in the season-opener on April 2.
The teams played one set to eight games, rather than the standard two-out-of-three six-game sets. Clinton's Kaylee Camp gutted out a comeback 8-6 win in the No, 1 spot of the lineup – and the rest of the River Queens cruised.
Abby Struble (8-0), Mackenzie Lange (8-3), Kylie Housenga (8-0), Lacy Pickney (8-0) and Kallyn Keefer (8-2) completed the sweep of the singles round in which the River Queens outscored the Lancers 48-11.
Tuesday marked the second consecutive day Clinton relocated to the indoor facility. Rasche said the team is comfortable with the differences of playing indoors rather than outside, acknowledging the benefits along the way.
"It's a huge blessing, you don't have to deal with the sun in your eyes or the wind, which has been ungodly lately," Rasche said. "We are used to it because this is like our home turf so it doesn't seem to affect our play.
Pickney and Lanie Schmitz celebrated Senior Night as the only two seniors on the varsity team. The duo, who play No. 3 doubles together, closed their home career out with a 8-4 win to complete the team's clean victory.
The pair's respective skill sets, power and finesse, have weaved together seamlessly this season.
"Lacy hits a really big ball and has a super powerful forehand," Rasche said. "Lanie poaches really well at the net and has been a nice attribute as a doubles player."
Camp and Struble (8-1) and Lange and Housenga (8-2) collected the River Queens' other doubles wins.
Clinton will compete in the MAC tournament Monday in Eldridge and are expected to enter as the second-seeded team behind Pleasant Valley, who handed the Queens their lone loss this season, a 9-0 defeat on April 16.
"We hope that everyone plays up to potential and we hope to give Pleasant Valley a better fight than the last time we saw them," Rasche said.