MHS girls’ tennis team copes with tension for dual victory

The tense moments were more than the Marshalltown girls’ tennis team had experienced previously this season.

But as head coach Dennis Paul has pointed to since the preseason, his team’s conditioning was what got them through.

The Bobcats broke a 3-all tie through singles play with a convincing advantage in doubles action, winning a 7-4 dual for the team’s second triumph of the season. MHS (2-6) won both matches that reached third-set tiebreakers, verifying Paul’s season-long stance.

“Today was completely opposite last year’s tiebreakers,” Paul said, “and I think our conditioning was a heck of a lot of it. You get in that third set, it’s hard getting that victory, and we’re getting them this year.”

Last year’s 5-4 Bobcat win over Southeast Polk in the opening round of regionals included two third-set tiebreakers that went the visiting Rams’ way. On Monday at the MHS tennis courts, Marshalltown claimed both matches that went to three sets and essentially decided the match.

Rhetta Wenk rallied for a 6-7 (6-8), 6-1, (12-10) win at No. 2 singles, while the No. 4 doubles team of Samantha Tocheri and Megan Riemenschneider also came from behind for a 5-7, 7-6 (7-1), (10-7) triumph.

“I’m real happy with the No. 4 doubles, they got down and they came back with tiebreakers in the second and the third sets,” said Paul.

And the most hotly contested match, the No. 2 doubles bout, also went the Bobcats’ way. Wenk and Megan Rachuy scored a straight-set win, 6-4, 6-3, in a battle that was frequently halted because of scoring discrepancies between the teams.

It helped Marshalltown score its second consecutive win over the Rams.

“Wonderful,” Paul said. “It’s been a tough year and to get our second win, this was a good one.

“Southeast Polk is typically not a really strong girls tennis team so we were hoping for a win today. We got it, but it was a hard-fought battle.”

Marshalltown’s No. 1 singles player Rachel Faircloth (4-4) got her record back to even with a 6-0, 6-0 romp over Southeast Polk’s Kali Lange, and Ashley Beaty posted a 6-0, 6-4 win at No. 6.

Faircloth and Maggie Kelehan battled for a No. 1 doubles win, 7-6 (7-5), 6-0, and Yelitza Patricio and Keyana Vasquez contributed a 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 5 doubles in quick fashion in their first varsity pairing together.

The junior varsity doubles team of Victoria Sanchez and Olyvia Mathews captured wins in both of their matches today, as well, but Southeast Polk won eight out of 12 contests. Sanchez also teamed with Kaelin Lents for a win.

Marshalltown is back at home today, hosting Pella in a 4 p.m. dual that was supposed to have been the Bobcats’ season opener. The Mason City dual has not yet been rescheduled from Thursday’s snow-out, and may not be, Paul said.