Wahawks whip up on MHS

A little bit of research led Marshalltown girls’ tennis coach Dennis Paul to an alarming discovery.

Waterloo West lost to Cedar Falls in dual-meet competition, 6-5.

That distressing fact alone led the Bobcat coach to believe his team was going to have a hard time taking down the Wahawks in their Class 2A Region 4 first-round pairing on Saturday at the Marshalltown High School tennis courts.

Having fallen to Cedar Falls 11-0 in their own dual meet two weeks earlier, the Bobcats also were dismissed quickly by Waterloo West in their postseason opener.

Marshalltown’s best shot at a singles victory never got the chance to materialize as the Wahawks whipped through the other five singles flights allowing no more than two games, getting through to the regional semifinals with a 5-0 triumph on Saturday.

The postseason format does no favors for the Bobcats (1-8), who have struggled in singles competition all season. Against Waterloo West, it was much of the same.

One at a time, the Wahawks picked off their MHS counterparts until – less than an hour into competition – the dual was finished.

The only match left standing on the court was the No. 1 singles bout, where Marshalltown junior Megan Riemenschneider had the upper hand in a first-set tiebreak with Waterloo West’s Aubrey Grant. Tied 6-all, the two players were beckoned off the court once the Wahawks had locked up their fifth and deciding singles victory.

“Megan had a very good chance of winning her match, unfortunately the first to five wins,” Coach Paul said. “I knew that (Waterloo West) matched up very evenly with Cedar Falls, and I knew we were going to have a tough time at singles because Cedar Falls beat them in a dual by one point. They went into it with the doubles being swept by Cedar Falls, so we knew Waterloo West was strong in singles and that we’d have to compete in singles first here in regionals.

“I think we’re a better doubles team, so it would have been nice to be able to see the doubles play.”

The Bobcats never got that chance. Adela Ikanovic cut down Marshalltown’s Brenda Livengood in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1, in the No. 5 singles bout, and Mikayla Schaefer finished off Samantha Tocheri, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 4. Karen Kajtazovic then got the No. 6 contest from Jenna Jaeckel, 6-1, 6-0, marching the Wahawks to a sudden 3-0 advantage.

Moments after Riemenschneider broke Grant’s serve to force the first-set tiebreak, Waterloo West twin sisters Dina and Tina Kajtazovic had clinched the win. Dina Kajtazovic, who played on the Wahawks’ state doubles qualifier a year ago, captured a 6-2, 6-0 win over Kathleen Ferrin at No. 2, and Tina Kajtazovic took the No. 3 match over Chloe Kuehner, 6-0, 6-1.

“We were hoping to be able to advance one more, to go into the second round of regionals, but unfortunately Waterloo West was the better team,” Paul said. “We knew they were strong.

“Can’t be too disappointed, the girls put a lot of good effort out there and that’s all I can ask. Waterloo West was a good team, so we put the effort out and I can be proud of the girls for giving their all.”

The Bobcats still must make up a Central Iowa Conference Northern Division meet on Monday, traveling to Mason City, and individual regionals are Thursday at Waterloo West. The Wahawks and Cedar Falls will both be there, along with Cedar Rapids Washington, Mason City and Waterloo East.

Ferrin and Ashley Beaty will play singles at individual regionals, while Riemenschneider and Kuehner will play the No. 1 doubles spot and Tocheri and Jaeckel will pair off for the No. 2 doubles flight.

“Hopefully we can take some of those girls past the first round,” Paul said.

Notebook

Waterloo West will travel to Cedar Rapids Prairie on May 24 for its regional semifinal with the host Hawks. Linn-Mar and Iowa City High also play at Prairie, and the regional final between winners will follow. … In Class 1A Region 3 first-round action, three area teams were defeated by 5-0 margins as well. South Hardin was blanked by Western Dubuque, South Tama fell to Davenport Assumption, and Grundy Center lost to Clear Lake. … South Hardin’s Shannon Teske took the opening set of her No. 6 singles match with Kaitlyn New, 7-6 (7), but was trailing 3-0 in the second set when Western Dubuque closed out its fifth victory.