Double-double: ’Cats clout Newton for second win
Before Friday’s matchup with Newton, Marshalltown head coach Blake Cutright pulled the Bobcats together. His message to the MHS girls’ tennis team was even though the Cardinals bested Marshalltown 10-1 a year ago, the opportunity for this year’s meeting to be competitive was there if the Bobcats played to their strengths.
They did just that.
After splitting singles play, Marshalltown claimed four of the five doubles matches to take the meet 7-4. The victory gave the Bobcats their second win of the year, surpassing last year’s win total of one, in just three meets on the young season. MHS defeated Des Moines Hoover 10-1 to open last year before dropping the final 11 meets. This season, the Bobcats opened with an 8-3 win against Des Moines East to go with Friday’s win.
“We’re super impressed,” Cutright said. “Just the improvement. Our main thing today was focus. I told the girls right before the match it could be a real tight one. We had to focus on every single point. We couldn’t give any free ones away. We did that.”
Kaitlyn Martin got the day started with a come from behind win in the No. 2 spot of singles play. The junior dropped the first set to Katherine Thorpe 6-3, but bounced back to claim the second set 6-2 before taking the tiebreaker 10-7. No. 4 Immaculate Edwin made fairly quick work of Natalie Camp 6-3, 6-0 to collect the singles win. The other singles win for Marshalltown belonged to No. 5 Sarah Jacobs, who bested Kinzie Loree 6-4, 6-2.
Marshalltown’s No. 1 Emly Miller fell to Megan Pressgrove 6-2, 6-1. After dropping the first set 6-0, No. 3 Maggie Grimm battled in the second set before ultimately falling 6-4 to Bethany Baumgartner. No. 6 Olivia Ryan took the first set from Newton’s Harlie Durr 6-2 before dropping the second 6-4 and coming up short in the tiebreaker 10-7.
Even just splitting singles play, the Bobcats had already posted a better result against Newton than they did last year. Cutright’s message to the team heading into doubles was, again, to stay competitive and finish off the opportunity in front of them.
“I told them to play loose,” Cutright said. “No pressure. Just focus on every single point like we talked about at the beginning. Then we talked a little bit of strategy about our strengths and their weaknesses, but more about doubles strategy.”
Grimm and Edwin dominated Baumgartner and Camp 6-3, 6-1. Jacobs and Acacia Brown won the first set 6-3 against Loree and Durr. After falling behind 3-2 and 4-3 in the second set, Jacobs and Brown fought back to win the set 6-4. Ryan and Aubrey Hala got the better of Ryanne Rausch and Alexis Hoffman 6-4, 6-4. Libby Loney and Sydney Mann defeated Emily Valtman and Rylie Bakalar 6-4, 6-3 to help secure the Bobcat team victory.
Miller and Martin were the only Bobcats to fall in doubles. The duo took the first set from Pressgrove and Thorpe 6-4. But the last competition of the night on the court, Miller and Martin couldn’t finish the opposition off, falling 6-3 in the second set before dropping the tiebreaker 10-8.
On Tuesday, the Bobcats host an Ames team that has defeated Marshalltown 11-0 and 10-1 the past two years respectively, but for right now, the Bobcats are riding high with where they’re at.
“Right now, it’s confidence,” Cutright said. “You can just see the girls’ confidence rising. I know we lost (Thursday at Fort Dodge), but we played a really good match, too. The improvement is there as far as the skills, the technique and all of that. But we’re playing smarter tennis. We’re playing to our strengths and their weaknesses, and we’re seeing it right now.”
Marshalltown 7, Newton 4
Megan Pressgrove (N) def. Emily Miller 6-2, 6-1
Kaitlyn Martin (MHS) def. Katherine Thorpe 3-6, 6-2 (10-7)
Bethany Baumgartner (N) def. Maggie Grimm 6-0, 6-4
Immaculate Edwin (MHS) def. Natalie Camp 6-3, 6-0
Sarah Jacobs (MHS) def. Kinzie Loree 6-4, 6-2
Harlie Durr (N) def. Olivia Ryan 2-6, 6-4 (10-7).
Pressgrove and Thorpe (N) def. Miller and Martin 4-6, 6-3 (10-8)
Grimm and Edwin (MHS) def. Baumgartner and Camp 6-3, 6-1
Jacobs and Acacia Brown (MHS) def. Loree and Durr 6-3, 6-4
Ryan and Aubrey Hala (MHS) def. Ryanne Rausch and Alexis Hoffman 6-4, 6-4
Libby Loney and Syndey Mann (MHS) def. Emily Valtman and Rylie Bakalar 6-4, 6-3.