Dodgers douse Bobcat girls, 10-1

Three days after having its dual meet at Urbandale swept off the court by rain, the Marshalltown girls’ tennis team saw all 11 matches reach their completion in Thursday’s Central Iowa Conference opener against Fort Dodge.

The sun was shining, only not on the Bobcats.

Fort Dodge mowed down Marshalltown on the nicest night of the spring season yet, winning 10-1 with a sweep in doubles play.

The Dodgers (2-1, 1-0) led 5-1 through singles action and finished off MHS (1-4, 0-1) with five straight-set victories in doubles play.

Marshalltown’s lone victory came from junior Ashley Beaty at No. 5 singles. A three-set match against Kjerstin Grindberg went Beaty’s way with an impressive comeback in the third-set tiebreaker, 6-2, 3-6, (12-10).

Grindberg got to match point with a 9-6 lead in the super-set tiebreaker, but Beaty battled all the way back to pick up the only Bobcat bright spot other than the first real glimpse of sunlight.

“We’ve been working really hard trying to improve the girls’ conditioning this season, and that may have helped her out in that match,” said MHS coach Dennis Paul. “Fort Dodge has a lot of good ground-strokers, and you can’t try to overpower a ground-stroker. We talked to the girls about trying to switch it up and get them out their rhythym, and Ashley was one who listened and she won.”

Each of the other five singles matches lasted only two sets as the Dodgers dominated. Marshalltown’s No. 6 singles player Kathleen Ferrin put up the best fight, falling 6-4, 6-4 to Allison Birnbaum.

The Bobcats’ top singles player, Rachel Faircloth, “ran into a buzzsaw” according to Paul. Dodger freshman Jaci Cochrane won going away, 6-0, 6-0, to drop Faircloth to 2-3 on the season.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anybody hit that well this year,” Paul said of Cochrane, a former Fort Dodge Junior Open champion and daughter of a former Northern Iowa tennis player.

Faircloth on Wednesday declared on Twitter that she had been accepted to Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Ind., and on Thursday said she would be trying out for the Belles’ NCAA Division III tennis team.

Beaty and Ferrin tried to rally up a comeback in their No. 3 doubles bout with Kjerstin Grindberg and McKellen Glassell, but fell 6-0, 6-4 in the final match of the dual.

In the junior varsity ranks, Fort Dodge won nine of 11 matches. The Bobcats’ victories came from the doubles teams of Cailyn Ernat and Emily Nordstrom, and Jenna Jaeckel and Keyana Vasquez.

Marshalltown is back in action tonight with a trip to Cedar Falls on the docket. The Bobcats travel to Ames on Tuesday.