Newton’s girls tennis team went 0-6 in conference duals this spring. But the Cardinals didn’t let that deter them during the Little Hawkeye Conference tournament on Wednesday.
Maggie Garrett and Lauryn Garrett both finished second in their singles flights and Olivia Hotchkin and Ella Swarts teamed up for a win in doubles, too, as Newton finished tied for fourth in the tournament and were just one point out of third.
“I was so proud of the girls,” Newton head girls tennis coach Erick Zehr said. “They played their butts off. We had a tough season full of close losses, and it isn’t easy to stay up and compete hard with so few results to show for it. But they came in determined to surprise people, and we definitely did.”
Newton scored 27 points in fourth and trailed Indianola (28) by one point. Pella was the conference champion with 46 points and Norwalk was second with 36. Pella Christian tied Newton with 27 points and Oskaloosa (22) and Grinnell (12) finalized the seven-team field.
“Finishing just a single point out of third place is pretty remarkable,” Zehr said. “Any single additional win throughout the day would have put us alone in third place.”
Maggie Garrett played Flight 1 singles and went 2-1 on the day.
She opened the tournament with a 6-3, 6-1 win and then advanced to the championship match with a 6-2, 6-4 victory. In the finals, Maggie Garrett lost 6-2, 6-0.
Lauryn Garrett took the same exact route to the title match as her older sister. She was 2-1 at Flight 2 singles, winning her first two matches 6-1, 6-2 and 6-3, 6-4.
In the finals, Lauryn Garrett nearly pulled out the win but fell in three sets 6-4, 3-6, 12-10. She was leading the third set 9-7 but couldn’t close it out.
“Maggie and Lauryn are just unshakable,” Zehr said. “They are rarely the more athletic player in their matches, nor the one with more experience or talent, but they make up for it in sheer determination and will.”
Hotchkin and Swarts played Flight 1 doubles and went 1-2. They opened with a 7-5, 6-2 loss but won 6-3, 6-4 in their first consolation match. The duo settled for sixth when they lost their fifth-place match by default. They lost the opening set 6-1 and were trailing 3-2 when the match ended.
Madison Rinehart and Roxanna Almazan were 0-2 in Flight 2 doubles. They lost twice by scores of 6-0, 6-2.