Lady Hounds nipped by Nikes in team tennis regionals

The FMHS girls tennis team was nipped by Burlington Notre Dame in team regionals Monday night. The individual and doubles regionals start Wednesday morning in Fairfield. PCC File photo
FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison Lady Hounds were bounced from regional team tennis action Monday, but took Notre Dame to the limit in the second round.
FMHS took five of six singles games against Keokuk, highlighted by a 6-0, 2-6 (10-5) tiebreaker win by senior Katie Larson over Jakala Hall at No. 1. With only three matches in team doubles competition remaining, Keokuk couldn’t have scored enough to catch the Hounds so doubles play wasn’t held and the Hounds moved into round two against the Nikes.
The two teams split the singles competition with Miho Shirai winning 6-0, 6-3 over Claire Hackenmiller at No. 2 singles, Larissa Ferrill knocked off Riley Brueck 6-4, 6-2 and Lanie Kuntz beat Katie Connor 6-7 (8-10), 6-1, 10-7 tiebreaker at No. 6.
The Hounds’ Kearstyn Johnson lost in a tiebreaker to the Nikes’ MacKenzie Fry 4-6, 7-5 (7-10) in singles action.
With the split, round two win hinged on doubles action, which was interrupted by weather. Head Coach Amy Doherty said the school agreed to move the event to Burlington in case indoor play would be required to finish the event.
“The Notre Dame match was much more of a challenge because we haven’t beaten them yet. We got through singles 3-3, which was better than we had done when we played them in a dual so we had renewed confidence going into doubles only needing to win two,” Doherty said.
“We started doubles at home and our girls started out tough but were starting to falter a little when the rain and thunder came. We quickly decided to move up to Burlington in case we needed to go inside to finish. This gave them a chance to regroup and helped a lot because they came out with more confidence and played more aggressively, all three matches having to go to the third set tiebreaker.”
Kuntz and Mercedee Doty won the first set of their match with Kennedy Rheinschmidt and Katie Connor 6-3, but fell in the second set 5-7 and lost the match tiebreaker 3-10.
Larson and Shirai went back in forth in their match with Lydia Becker and Hackenmiller losing 3-6 in the first set and then escaping with a 7-6 win in the second set after a 7-2 tiebreaker at 6 all. The match tiebreaker went to 11 with the Hounds winning 11-9, setting the stage for Johnson and Ferrill to try and save the win.
The two dropped the first set 5-7 but came back to win the second set 6-4 setting up a third match tiebreaker, which they lost 7-10 to end the day for the Hounds.
Regional individual and doubles action begins Wednesday morning at Fairfield beginning at 9 a.m.
“These girls endured the heat and worked hard today. The Keokuk match was nothing more than the expected usual, except Katie finally got a win over Jakayla Hall which was huge for her and something she has been trying to accomplish all year,” Doherty said. “I must say though, these girls battled today and left 100% of themselves out on that court. I couldn’t be more proud of them and the season they have had this year.”

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