The Newton girls tennis team squared off against its Little Hawkeye Conference rival Pella in Newton on Tuesday and came away with a clean sweep of the Dutch. Despite several contentious matches, the Cardinals only managed to drop two sets on the day, and those occurred in doubles play.
Representing the Cardinals in the top spot of the singles ladder was Katelyn Camp. Camp defeated Pella’s Morgan Ernst in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. Jennifer Ventling had her first match this year in the No. 2 spot for the Cards, and she was able to win convincingly over Zoe Vermeer, 6-3, 6-0.
“Katelyn's serve was very effective today, as she won 80 percent of her first serve points. She combined that with five breaks of Ernst's serve to convincingly win,” coach Erick Zehr said. “Jennifer played her first match at No. 2 singles and played very well. She controlled the tempo of the points and attacked Vermeer's second serve to cruise in the second set.”
Katelin Klyn played in the three spot for Newton and took down Sami Wassenaar, 6-2, 6-3. Holly Vander Pol beat Molly Kalkwarf, 6-2, 6-1 in the No. 4 spot. In the No. 5 spot, Krystal Mapes returned to get the victory over Kaitlyn Van Weelden, 6-1, 6-1. Catelin Combs overcame some early struggles to round out the singles matches for Newton, winning 6-4, 6-4.
“Katelin played very controlled and composed, and she attacked her opponent's weaknesses well,” Zehr said. “Holly absolutely destroyed her opponent at with most points ending after only a couple swings of her racquet. Her shots were very effective, incorporating advanced pace and placement. Krystal destroyed her opponent as well, with winners on almost every point — either well placed short/soft shots, or overhead smashes. Caitlin battled tough against a talented player to hold her off.”
On the doubles ladder, the Cardinals faced some much more contentious matches, but they only dropped two sets. The first team of Camp/Klyn won their match 6-4, 6-4 over Ernst/Vermeer. Ventling/Vander Pol defeated Wassenaar/Kalkwarf, 6-4, 6-3.
In the third match, the team of Combs and Mapes swept the first set 6-0, but lost the second set 5-7 and were forced to go to a tiebreak game, which they won. Monica Corso and Kate Hinshaw walked all over their opponents from Pella, winning 6-1, 6-3. Sidney Griffith/ McKenna Heisdorffer won the final match. After losing the first set 5-7, they rallied to take the second set 6-2 and won the tiebreak game.
“Having sealed the meet win with a sweep of singles, doubles play got off to a slow start,” Zehr said. “We dropped the first game in four of the five matches. Play picked up for several of the matchups, and we were able to get the wins we needed.”
It was a very windy afternoon on the courts for the Cardinals, and Zehr was very proud that his girls were able to focus and complete the team sweep.
“We were very excited to get the win tonight, especially considering the fact we haven’t played in a week, and the conditions were less than favorable,” Zehr said. “Cold and wind tend to be equalizing factors, but our girls were able to go out and take care of business. Pella had had some girls missing from previous meets, so we weren’t sure what their best shot would look like, ultimately, and it was a relief to win as well as we did.”
Zehr sees this team as moving forward toward the lofty expectations that he had for them from the season’s onset. With only two home meets left, it seems the Cardinals are hitting their peak.
“We have a long list of high goals for the season, and this was another step toward several of them,” Zehr said. “We are very excited about the opportunities that will present themselves in the coming week. Norwalk will be very good on Thursday, and we are getting ready for Pella Christian next Tuesday. We have four meets in five days next week to decide the LHC Title. It will be a very exciting home stretch for us.”
In addition to the varsity sweep, the JV girls won 9-3. The next meet for the Cardinals is scheduled for Thursday at Norwalk.