BY ETHAN LILLARD
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison’s girls tennis team had a combined 16-2 record over its past two contests coming into Thursday’s matchup with Camanche.
Playing on their home court, the Bloodhounds put up a fight one through six, but in the end, Camanche walked away with the 8-1 win against the Lady Hounds.
“Tonight was a good test for ours girls,” Fort Madison Head Coach Jeremy Swink said. “Seeing a different team we don’t typically see is good for our girls. (It) Should serve as a little wake up call to a few of them.”
Despite what may appear to be a lopsided score, the Bloodhounds were close, forcing a tiebreaker in a third of their matches.
Fort Madison’s No. 4, Kirklyn Nafziger, and No. 6 Alyse Schmidt, were the final competitors to walk off of the pavement Thursday, as both matches went down to the wire.
Schmidt had the closest contest, as Camanche’s Emma Holstein forced a tiebreaker at 11-10.
Schmidt and Holstein went back and forth again in the extra court time with the score tied at six. Needing to win by two, Holstein took the following two sets for the 8-6 win in the tiebreaker.
Camanche’s Kamryn Vogel took Nafziger into a tiebreaker as well with the score at 11-10. Kamryn however, took a commanding 5-0 lead over Nafziger before she was able to score her first point during the tiebreaker. From there, Vogel went on to win the set 7-1.
“Alyse was down 1-4 and she fought back from that,” Swink said.
“In the tiebreaker she was down 2-6 and fought all the way back to tie it at six all. Those (two matches) could have gone either way, but yeah, they were close matches. It’s good for us.”
Larissa Ferrill was the lone Fort Madison player to collect a win on the day, making quick work of Natalie Goble 10-1.
Lexie Hart came away with a 10-3 win against the Hounds No. 2 in Laney Kuntz and both Zoe Ramatowski and Lily Cadwallader lost 10-5.
Schmidt was again the closest to tasting victory when it came to doubles, teaming up with Cadwallader, but falling to Vogel and Wright to the tune of 10-7. Fort Madison dropped its other two doubles contest as well. The duo of Ferrill and Kuntz were overpowered by Goble and Hart and Ramatowski and Nafziger took a 10-4 loss to Michels and Holstein.
“Camanche is a tough team,” Swink said. “We had saw some good things tonight, but more importantly we saw what we need to work on. There is no shame in losing to a good team. We need to learn from some of our mistake and move on.
“That’s something we talked about all season is that fight component. We always talk about how there is going to be somebody that can hit the ball harder than you, has a better serve, has a better forehand, backhand, whatever, but if you have that fight, it kind of gives you that upper edge for those close matches.”
Fort Madison’s is back on their home court once again Monday May 6 at the conference meet.