BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FAIRFIELD – Despite lopsided losses at the top seeds, the Fort Madison girls tennis team was able to pull out a close match on the road at Fairfield Tuesday night in girls high school action.
The match came down to the last varsity matches of the night as the No. 2 doubles team of Larissa Ferrill and Kearstyn Johnson were able to hold off Fairfield’s Dayna Price and Canu Schaeffer 8-5 in the first-to-eight single-set matches. Fort Madison’s Mercedee Doty and Charissa Smith then pulled out an 8-6 win over Anna Beasley and Ashley Pool at No. 3 doubles to seal the win for Fort Madison.
The top doubles matchup of Katie Larson and Hope Gray fell to Annatta Charouenkul and Hermela Grebemarium 5-8, which set up Fort Madison needing to sweep at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles to win.
In singles action, Larson fell to 2016 state runner-up Charouenkul 8-0 at No. 1, and Johnson fell to Price at No. 2 singles 8-1. Gray got the Hounds on the board with an 8-3 win over Schaeffer and Ferrill repeated that performance with her own 8-3 win over Grebemarium.
Doty then lost to Beasley 3-8 at No. 5, but Smith came back with an 8-4 win over Pool to set up the doubles drama.
“Another nail biter tonight that came down to one doubles match to clinch the win,” said Head Coach Amy Doherty. “Ferrill and Johnson found a groove tonight, giving us a 4-3 lead, then Smith and Doty pulled through to secure the win. The girls played very well tonight, even those who did not come out ahead.”
The Lady Hounds move to 4-3 in dual meets this year and travel to Mt. Pleasant on Friday.
In junior varsity action, Lanie Kuntz fell 2-6, Lilli Scott won 6-1, Alyse Schmidt won 6-3, Marlee Klesner lost 3-6, Zoe Ramatowski won 6-3 and CJ Lozano lost 2-6. In junior varsity doubles matches Jamie Folks and Deanna Warner lost 2-6, Paige Auge and Abbee Kelly lost 0-6, Aniah Ross and Lily Cadwallader lost 0-6 and Kelsey Penrod and Zina Johnstun lost 0-6.