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Maconaquah girls' tennis edged out by Hamilton Heights

TURNAROUND: Maconaquah No. 1 doubles player Kaitlin Stapleton serves during the third set of Thursday’s non-conference girls’ tennis match against Hamilton Heights. Stapleton and Trysta Gustafson rallied from a first set loss to defeat Kate Biggs and Gwen Kelley 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the Braves’ 3-2 loss to the Huskies.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

With Wednesday having turned into a wait-and-see practice as a scheduled girls’ tennis match with Whitko was postponed, Maconaquah tried again to gets its second round of the season in with Hamilton Heights visiting Thursday.

The Braves closed the gap between the two teams from a year ago but were still a point short of taking the match, falling to the Huskies 3-2.

Maconaquah head coach Brianna Manriquez said the squad had a better showing against the visitors than the previous year while using the breezy conditions to their advantage when they could.

“We feel like the girls did pretty tonight,” Manriquez said. “Brooke (Borden) played very well with the wind, which was a big component for everyone in their matches.

“On days when the wind is blowing like crazy, we do a lot of hitting while keeping in mind which direction the wind is coming from, how the ball is going to react and how to be prepared for things.”

Borden scored the first point of the day for either team, winning the match at No. 2 singles 6-2, 6-0 over Hamilton Heights’ Hailey VanOeveren.

The Huskies leveled the match at No. 3 singles as Brooke Sears defeated Emma Warnock 6-3, 6-1.

Hamilton Heights would wrap up the match by taking No. 1 singles as Addi Gordon defeated Maconaquah’s Alice Miller 6-4, 6-3.

No. 2 doubles gave the visitors the lead as the team of Cortney Martin and Maddie Nickel defeated the team of Holly Householder and Annie Isenberg 6-3, 6-3.

“Alice and Emma both kept fighting,” Manriquez said about the other singles players. “Even when they were down, they didn’t look like they lost their energy or gave up on the match.”

The night’s most competitive match came at No. 1 doubles where Huskies pair Kate Biggs and Gwen Kelley started off with a comfortable 6-2 first set win over Braves duo Trysta Gustafson and Kaitlin Stapleton.

From there, however, it was the Maconaquah doubles team that controlled the match, winning sets two and three 6-2, 6-2, picking up their first win of the season in the process.

“I was impressed with the way (Trysta and Kaitlin) came back in this match,” Manriquez said about the No. 1 doubles team. “They’ve grown tremendously over the past few practices.

“We’ve been working on communication and their play at the net. They’ve shown they’ve been paying attention and incorporating those things into their game.

“They struggled pretty hard in the first set in losing that 2-6,” Manriquez added. “We fixed a few things, they kept talking and eventually they helped each other to get the win.”

Maconaquah closes the week Saturday at Carroll with Manriquez looking at Friday’s practice as a chance to clean up some issues from the first two matches.

“We’ve still have different items were working on in practice,” Manriquez noted. “For instance, we’re working with Emma on her backhands and with our doubles teams, we’re doing a little friendly competition where we’re putting them in a scenario where they have a 4-4 score and the team that loses has a little workout to do.

“With Brooke, we want to see her hit the ball a little harder and use more of her full potential while we’re working on the speed of being at the net with Alice. She was able to get to the net tonight but once there, the game was little too fast for her.”