Ranger netters fall to Eddies

Published 7:12 pm Monday, April 11, 2011

Reloading looks to be the case for Edwardsburg tennis coach Kim Bartz as she won the Lakeland Conference last year with seven seniors last year and opened the conference season with a 5-0 victory over host Cassopolis on the Wednesday before spring break (March 30).

Cassopolis’ Savannah Sullivan was defeated by Edwardsburg’s Alex Watts 6-2 and 6-3 at No. 1 singles. The Eddies swept the Rangers 5-0 in the season opener for both schools. (Vigilant photos/RON HARNER)

“We have 26 girls altogether that came out for tennis this spring with only one senior (Sakura Rowe) and need all the girls just to keep improving as playing on varsity is new to most of them,” said Bartz. “We have success because the players put hard work in the summer and winter, which is our off-season.”

Cassopolis will attempt to find the victory column this campaign as 11 players came out with only one new player.

“Improvement is our hope and asking the team to work a little harder,” stated Cassopolis coach Scott Marshall, who received some pointers from previous Buchanan mentor Steve Bender. “Steve Bender taught me a ton of things and is really good with a lot of success.”

Moving up from No. 3 to the top spot for the Eddies is sophomore Alex Watts, who beat junior Savannah Sullivan by scores of 6-2 and 6-3 as all the other matches went by 6-0 and 6-0 scores.

“Sullivan has really come along in the couple years she has been here after coming from Niles,” Marshall said. “We are implementing more footwork and drills to try to make tennis more fun.”

Sophomores Hayley Jones (moved up from 2 doubles) and Connie Kutschbach (never played before) won at No. 2 and No. 3 singles respectively over two likewise 10th graders in Hannah Deubner and Torrie Irvine of Cassopolis.

“The future is looking promising with our top three singles being sophomores and two freshmen at No. 4 doubles,” noted Bartz. “Brandywine and Buchanan both have talented teams that will be a challenge for us, but overall the conference has good competition as usual.”

The No. 1 doubles tandem was the only other action on the cold and windy day as Edwardsburg juniors Alyssa Nasco and Jamie Richardson played sophomore Celia Ash and junior Kayla Hershberger of the Rangers.

“It is tough for a small school with four sports going on at the same time, but I love the sport of tennis and willing to work extra after practice if somebody wants to,” said Marshall. “Hopefully, we can get a victory this year, but Edwardsburg, Brandywine and possibly Buchanan will be the leaders in the conference.”