BY ETHAN LILLARD
FORT MADISON – The last time Fort Madison’s girls tennis team took the court, they came away with one single win, falling to Fairfield 8-1.
Back on their own home court Thursday, the Hounds got back on track, sweeping Mount Pleasant 9-0.
“Seeing them respond this way to the two previous lost matches is very promising,” Fort Madison Head Coach Jeremy Swink said.
Playing as the team’s No. 1, Larissa Ferrill picked up an 8-6 victory against Erin Zihlman. Lanie Kuntz, the Hounds No. 2 on Thursday, had an easier match, coming away with an 8-2 win. Fort Madison’s No. 3, Zoe Ramatowski, kept the momentum rolling in the right direction, scoring an 8-3 win against her opponent Shaleen Thiengmany.
Kirklynn Nafziger also breezed through her match, winning 8-2. The Hounds No 5 and No. 6 players had a more difficult time with their matches.
Alyse Schmidt, at No. 5, was forced into a tiebreaker against Mount Pleasant’s Sierra Barton before coming away with the 7-2 win during the extra court time.
Lilli Scott, the Hounds No. 6, also finished regular match play with an 8-8 tie against Olivia Carson. Scott and Carson battled until the end during the tiebreaker, but Scott was too much, walking away the 10-8 victory.
The duo of Ferrill and Kuntz overpowered Mount Pleasant’s top two players, cruising to an easy 8-0 sweep of Zihlman and Sandeen. Ramatowski and Nafziger weren’t as dominate, but still were able to double their opponent’s score, defeating Thiengmany and Runyon 8-4.
Looking to collect the sweep, the Hounds final duo of Schmidt and Scott were able to close the door on Mount Pleasant, winning their match 8-6 against Barton and Carson for the 9-0 sweep.
By the final scores it may appear Fort Madison’s Thursday matches were a cake walk, but a lot of the Hounds’ wins were come-from-behind victories.
“To start tonight, I looked down the row of scorecards and many, if not all, of our girls dropped their first two games,” Swink said. “Some of our girls were down as low as 1-5 to start with. To see each of them battle back and exhibit some toughness is a huge step for us as a team.”
Fort Madison will once again have home court advantage its next contest against Burlington on Monday.