Vikings edged by Three Rivers in Wolverine match

Published 8:58 am Sunday, April 14, 2024

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THREE RIVERS — Jill Weber was encouraged by the grit her Niles girls’ tennis team showed in a 5-3 loss in Wednesday’s Wolverine Conference opener at Three Rivers.

Weber said her team’s court time has been limited due to inclement weather and Niles was gone last week for Spring Break. The lone match the Vikings had played prior to Wednesday was at Berrien Springs just before the break.

“This was a good way to start the season. We are confident and have made alot of progress over the last week. I’m excited to see what we can do once we get more time out on the court,” Weber said.

Niles won the No. 2 and No. 3 singles flights, along with a win at No. 3 doubles.

Three of the matches went into a third set with the Vikings winning one of those at No. 2 singles.

At No. 1 singles, Caelyn Hinds from Niles lost to Bella Mangold from Three Rivers 3-6, 2-6.

In the No. 2 singles flight, Ella Knight from Niles outlasted Lily Zabonick of Three Rivers 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4).

At No. 3 singles, Jaida Gear from Niles defeated Lexi Page of Three Rivers 6-4, 6-4.

Niles’ Kennedy Holloway lost 4-6, 1-6 to Natalie Moore of Three Rivers at No. 4 singles.

“Our singles flights played pretty well. Caelyn played No. 2 doubles for us last year and she and her partner only lost a couple matches. She has some work to do, but will put in the time to succeed. Ella  had a strong match as well,” Weber said.

Aubrey McIntosh and Hailee Mitchell from Niles lost a heartbreaker at No. 1 doubles to Maggie Gose and Jayna Larson 6-2, 4-6, 6-7 (4-7).

“Aubrey and Hailee played together last year at No. 3 doubles. They made a big jump up in the lineup, but they both have good serves and groundstrokes,” Weber said.

Niles’ No. 2 doubles tandem of Emma Williams and Lucy Custard were defeated by Lucy Olson and Lilah Zabonick from Three Rivers 5-7, 2-6.

Cheyenne Small and Addison Vandalson from Niles won at No. 3 doubles over Soreeya Hoeung and Hailey Grubbs of Three Rivers 6-0, 6-1.

At No. 4 doubles, Niles’ duo of Azlynne Ingle and Brooklyn Hemminger lost to Three Rivers’ duo of Kenzie Rennie and Grace Lafferty 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 4-6.

“We have five seniors on our team, two freshmen, three sophomores and the rest are juniors so we are a fairly young team,” Weber added.

Three Rivers head coach Don Zabonick felt both his team and Niles were pretty evenly-matched and played a strong match.

“It was an intense match. There were some very long games and points played today but both teams. All of our flights communicated well and picked one another up after bad hits. That’s what picked us up and helped us after we were facing a couple deficits in matches. I’m super excited about this season,” said Three Rivers’ coach.