Muskies show improvement, but downed by Central | Tennis

Walter S. Timmons

This year, senior night came without any seniors for the Muscatine High School girls tennis team.

Unfortunately for the Muskies, it came without a win, too, as Davenport Central took eight of the nine matches played at Muscatine High School.

As both Central and Muscatine entered Tuesday’s Mississippi Athletic Conference match without a win in dual play, something had to give.

With the win, the Blue Devils moved to 1-5 in duals while the Muskies dropped to 0-7.

“Both teams were supportive of each other,” said Muscatine head coach Kyle Kennedy. “They were helping each other out. I think that’s pretty unique with girls tennis — especially our team — we’re really friendly.”

The Muskie win came from a No. 2 doubles pairing of Grace Brookhart and Zara Stoltzfus, who defeated Kelly Lowe and Dontayvia Kirk in three sets (5-7, 6-2, 10-6).

Both Stoltzfus and Brookhart were hard outs in singles competition, though their Blue Devil counterparts each got three-set wins.

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Stoltzfus, a freshman, nearly stole her singles match against Central’s Netty Kantner after Stoltfus took the first set 6-0, but Kantner stormed back to take the following two sets by finals 7-5 and 10-7.

The junior Brookhart went up against Emily McMahon, who scored the win (5-6, 6-3, 10-5) in what turned out to be a bit of a marathon of a match.

Muscatine also lost Jenna Lovstad to injury minutes before the dual, leaving freshman Anna Storr to fill in the Muskies’ No. 2 position in singles play and as Haney’s doubles partner.

“Especially for a freshman, Anna has been very consistent in her improvement,” said Kennedy. “Especially if we start getting outside more, I think we’ll see a lot more improvement for our team.”

Though the Muskie doubles tandem went down in straight sets (6-0, 6-0), Storr played a competitive singles match against Central’s Kelly Lowe. However, the match went in Lowe’s favor, 6-5, 6-3.

Muscatine sophomore Rose Hartvigsen and juniors Aubrey Haney and Vanessa Mendoza were only able to score two game wins in singles play.

Hartvigsen and Mendoza had a bit more success as partners but lost in doubles play (6-1, 6-2) to Central’s Kantner and McMahon.

“Overall, our basics are steadily improving,” Kennedy said. “They’re getting a little more consistent with their groundstrokes. Their serves are in a lot more, so they’re not double-faulting as often.

“We still need to work on backhands and things like that, but it’s been difficult. We’ve only been able to get outside like eight or nine days this season because of the weather. But we’re starting to see that consistency, and they’re starting to build that confidence.”

The Muskies are back at it next Monday at home against non-conference opponent Camanche.

“Unfortunately, the schedule this year has been really top-heavy for us,” said the Muskie coach. “We played all of the top five teams from our conference right off the bat. I think both teams got a lot of value out of tonight.”

Girls tennis

Davenport Central 8, Muscatine 1

No. 1 — Maitreyi Shrikhande (DC) def. Aubrey Haney 6-0, 6-0.

No. 2 — Kelly Lowe (DC) def. Anna Storr 6-5, 6-3

No. 3 — Emily McMahon (DC) def. Grace Brookhart 5-6, 6-3, 10-5

No. 4 — Netty Kantner (DC) def. Zara Stoltzfus 0-6, 7-5, 10-7

No. 5 — Dontayvia Kirk (DC) def. Rose Hartvigsen 6-0, 6-1

No. 6 — Grace Hopkins (DC) def. Vanessa Mendoza, 6-0, 6-1

No. 1 — Shrikhande/Ella Skolrood (DC) def. Haney/Storr 6-0, 6-0

No. 2 — Brookhart/Stoltzfus (MUS) def. Lowe/Kirk 5-7, 6-2, 10-6

No. 3 — McMahon/Kantner def. Hartvigsen/Mendoza 6-1, 6-2

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