CLINTON — The River Queens have not missed a beat in picking up where they left off last season.
The Clinton girls’ tennis team, who reached the Class 2A state quarterfinals last season, have reloaded in 2019 and appear primed for another postseason run.
The River Queens picked up a dominating victory Tuesday afternoon, sweeping Mississippi Athletic Conference foe Davenport North 9-0 at Max Lynn Courts.
Clinton outscored the Wildcats in games 108 to 9, as six of the nine matches were settled by scores of 6-0, 6-0.
River Queens’ No. 1 Kaylee Camp fought off North’s Kayla Cornett in the most competitive match of the afternoon, as Camp gutted out a 6-4 win in the first set before cruising to a 6-1 triumph in the second.
Camp is one of four returners from last season’s state-qualifying team, a group that also includes Lacy Pickney, Mackenzie Lange and Kylie Housenga.
Clinton coach Cindy Rasche praised her team’s veteran core on a unit that graduated Kiersten Housenga and Kaitlyn Green, who served as the team’s No. 1 and No. 2 players in the lineup, respectively.
“Even though they are young, they all have stepped up and done exactly what they should be doing,” Rasche said. “I don’t have anycomplaints... God has blessed me with some really good kids.”
Pickney is one of the varsity group’s few seniors, and she rolled to a comfortable shutout win over Traydaja Shorter in the fifth spot of the lineup.
“I think I was being pretty consistent and just getting the ball back,” Pickney said.
She said the team has talked about raising the bar from a season ago.
“Since we got top-8 last year, we want to get top-4 this year,” Pickney said. “We are striving to get there this year.”
Clinton added freshman Abby Struble into the No. 2 spot of the varsity lineup, adding another link to an already strong group. Struble won her match by a score of 6-0, 6-1.
“Obviously, adding Abby as a freshman is a really nice thing,” Rasche said. “She has a nice serve and drives the ball from the baseline... when she gets a short ball, she attacks and puts it away, which is good to see.”
Lange joined the shutout group, too, defeating Tai Edwards 6-0, 6-0. Edwards sported a unique, spin-heavy serve that initially tricked Lange – but not for long.
“I just tried to make sure she wouldn’t get too far ahead of me with the serves and I would always try to make sure that I was there and ready in case her serve did come over,” she said.
Camp and Strudle won their doubles match, 6-2, 6-1. The duo of Lange and Housenga earned a 6-0, 6-0 victory while Pickney paired with Lanie Schmitz for a 6-0, 6-0 win.
Clinton entered the match with an impressive 5-4 win over an esteemed Bettendorf last Tuesday and a 9-0 win over Davenport West Friday.
“Our long-term goal, at present, is to make it to the top-8 at state,” Rasche said. “But looking at what we have done so far, we are going to try to move that goal up a bit to be in the final four so we are trudging away.”
The River Queens will travel to take on Pleasant Valley on Tuesday.