BY PCC SPORTS
FAIRFIELD – Fort Madison’s Molly Knipe captured 3rd place in the Southeast Conference girls tennis meet Monday in Fairfield.
Knipe, who came into the tourney seeded No. 2 battled her way through a 7-5 first set win over Keokuk junior Julia de Gala in the first round. de Gala got to the main round after beating Grace Hecox of Burlington, 6-4, 6-4 in a play-in.
After the close first set, Knipe shut out de Gala in the second set 6-0 to advance to the semifinals against the hosts No. 6 Nellie Higdon. Higdon who knocked off Mt. Pleasant’s Savanna Walls 6-4, 6-4 to advance, beat Knipe 6-2 in the first set.
However Knipe battle back in the second set pushing a 6-6 tie and forcing a tiebreaker. Higdon slipped into the finals with a 9-7 tiebreaker win. Higdon would end up falling to top-seeded Tess Paton of Fairfield 6-3, 6-1.
Knipe would move into the 3rd place match against Burlington’s Emily Woodsmall where Knipe would win in straight sets 6-2, 6-3.
Fort Madison’s Rachel Hellman was seeded No. 9 and had to play Keokuk’s No. 8 Jasmine Saunders in a play-in match. Hellman would come back from a 2-6 loss in the first set to take a 7-6 second set win with a 7-3 tiebreaker. Then she won the two set tie breaker 10-1 to move into the main bracket against eventual champion Paton.
Paton would shut out Hellman 6-0, 6-0 pushing Hellman into the consolation side of the bracket where she knocked off Mt. Pleasant’s Maggie Fitzpatrick 6-0, 6-3 before falling to Walls 6-0, 6-0 in the fifth-place match to take sixth place, three above her seed.
In doubles play, the No. 5 seeded duo of Lauren Otte and Sky Lawson fell to No. 4 Emily Mosley and Macy McGinity after taking the first set 6-1. The Burlington girls then took the second set 6-2 and won the tiebreaker 10-4 to fall into the consolation bracket where Fairfield’s Abby Schaefer and Lauren Kraemer moved on with 6-1, 6-1 wins over the Lady Hounds.
Otte and Lawson then took on Mt. Pleasant’s Malena Yocum and Morela Ellas for seventh place and ended up with the win 6-0, 6-1.
Kayla Kruse and Elizabeth Stuekerjuergen came into the bracket with a No. 10 seed. and fell 6-1, 6-0 to Olivia Jones and Sydney Wells, moving into the 9th place match where a bye in the other play-in left them with no opponent and the win by default.
On Saturday, the Lady Hounds got just one win in an 1-8 loss to Camanche in a triangular at Muscatine. Nauda Ruston and Laruen Otte knocked off Ana Lev and Makailla Hughes 8-6 at No. 3 doubles for Fort Madison.
The Bloodhounds got two wins in the second match of the day against Muscatine in a 2-7 loss. Ruston got an 8-3 win over the Muskies Grace Brookhart at No. 6 singles and Otte and Ruston again got a win at No. 3 doubles over Brookhart and Shelby Grady.