MOLINE, Ill. - It may not have ended how they wanted, but the Clinton girls’ tennis season was certainly a successful one.
On a rainy Wednesday morning, the doubles pairs of Abby Struble-Kaylee Camp and Kylie Housenga-MacKenzie Lange competed indoors in the Iowa Girls High School State Singles and Doubles Tournament at the Quad City Tennis Club complex, both duos falling in their state matches.
The day was originally scheduled to kick off at Bettendorf High School, but court conditions moved it across the river and indoors.
For Lange and Housenga, they knew they had a tough task ahead of them. They were put against the Class 2A No. 1 seed doubles team out of Iowa City, Jessica Moonjely and Audrey Koch.
“We kind of just wanted to have fun together,” Lange said.
The Iowa City girls took and quick 6-0, 6-0 win.
Housenga and Lange were particularly flustered by some of the placements from the Iowa City team, finding open shots on all sides of the court.
“They definitely knew what they were doing,” Lange said. “They had a lot of power behind their hits and were such good competitors.”
The pair also fell to Joyce Sun and Ava Hash from Dubuque Hempstead 6-2, 6-1.
For the No. 1 double duo of Struble and Camp, the day was a laborious battle from the start. They came out against Waukee’s pair of Libby Messman and Megan Severson, but looked timid at the start.
“We had some nerves and were playing it safe,” Camp said. “We needed to be aggressive and play our game.”
They struggled, too, with some powerful serves from Waukee.
“With such a hard serve, it’s harder to place the ball and it makes it easier for their net person to attack it,” Camp said.
“Plus, the person playing at the net was also super aggressive and it made it hard to get around her,” Struble said.
Struble and Camp both picked it up after dropping the first set, finding some open balls down the line and attacking net play a little harder. Still, they fell 6-4, 6-2.
Their next set was even harder than that. They were more confident going into their consolation bracket but had to grind out the first set. The pair of Paeton Morrow and Ava Torgerson from West Des Moines Valley got the edge 7-6.
“We got the nerves out, started playing our game and got more into our groove,” Camp said.
The pair bounced back to take the second set 1-6, but lost in the tie breaker.
It might have been a little nervewracking for freshman Abby Struble. Although she wasn’t the only one making her first individual state appearance, it still is her debut season in the black and red.
“Everyone here is so experienced and such great players, it’s a little nervewracking,” Struble said.
Still, the River Queens were happy to be there.
“We were so grateful for the opportunity to come and play,” Camp said. “It’s our first time at individual state and it’s a really cool experience. It’s great having the whole team around us.”
The two doubles teams finished first and second and regionals to both earn a state berth. It was the first individual state appearance for all four athletes, all of which are coming off of team state last week.
“We worked together and motivated each other to get here,” Housenga said.
“It felt really cool to come together as a team,” Lange said. “We really wanted to get here.”
All four of the state qualifiers will be back for next year’s season.
“I think we need to be more aggressive and have two people coming to the net,” Camp said, when thinking about where she and Struble want to improve.
The River Queens finished 7-1 in duals this year along with an appearance at the IGHSAU team state meet in Iowa City, where they bowed out in the quarterfinals. As a team, they only lost 11 doubles matches during the regular season.