Knipe 3rd in girls SEC tennis meet

Fort Madison's Molly Knipe, shown here in early action this season, took 3rd place at the Southeast Conference girls tennis tournament Monday. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC


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.

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