Spartans stifled on Senior Night
GC/G-R girls netters swept by Aplington-Parkersburg
GRUNDY CENTER — It wasn’t the ideal Senior Night celebration the Spartans had hoped to be partaking in Tuesday night. The 9-0 loss to Aplington-Parkersburg was the second defeat in 24 hours for the Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck girls’ tennis team, but the attitude was far different now that the Spartans (3-9) were back home.
GC/G-R didn’t send off its three varsity seniors with a win, but it did hold true to the three values it strived to stay steadfast in all season long.
“They wanted to be known for serving,” said GC/G-R head coach Joel Johnson. “They wanted to be a good serving team. I told them, when you walk in, the other team is going to say, ‘Hey, Grundy Center serves the ball really well, you better be ready.’ That’s one of the [goals].”
Despite the 9-0 loss, the Spartans had just a small handful of double-faults on their service throughout the night. While some struggled on those first attacks off the serve, the seconds landed in and the point was almost always contested on multiple volleys.
None were better at hanging around their match that No. 6 player Erika Johnson. The sophomore had the closest match of the night with the Falcons’ Clara Peterson, an 8-4 loss.
Johnson led 2-1 early on before falling behind 5-2. After a couple of wins, she was back to within 5-4 before losing the final three points.
Joel Johnson said, despite limiting service errors Tuesday night, strong first serves will be a focal point in practice in the coming week.
The second and third values the Spartans stayed their course on was their integrity and sportsmanship on the court, along with positive comradery.
Joel said coming in to his first year as a girls’ tennis coach, he noticed how tight-knit this year’s group of players was. Many of them he’d seen around two or even at his house, as they’re friends with his daughter, Erika.
It wasn’t a value Joel had to ever sell the Spartans on. The friendship and jubilant attitudes remained throughout the course of the year, even though the winning success wasn’t as consistent as hoped to be.
“Tennis is a lot like golf. You’ve got to forget your last shot,” Joel said. “And I keep trying to tell them [to think about] the next point. You have four opportunities to win a point, unless you go to deuce. And just because they won that one point, doesn’t mean the game is over. And if I could instill that in them for future years, that would be something [important].
“I’ve coached a lot of teams, and the comradery and team spirit and doing things together as a team … it says a lot about the girls. It wasn’t hard from them to adapt to that.”
Senior Alexa Strickler started the afternoon off with an 8-3 loss, followed by Amber Laube’s 8-3 loss. She led 2-1, but fell behind in the middle run of the set to take the second loss of the day.
The two went deep into points, consecutively, with Korrigan Hippen and Maddie Waller of A-P, but fell 8-1 in doubles.
Brianna Brown fell 8-3 and Courtney Cooper had a long 7-1 loss in their singles matches, before Reegan Zinkula fell 8-1 to Hannah Cline.
Cooper played with Emily Ehrig in doubles, falling 8-1, and Zinkula and Erika played together in the No. 3 doubles spot, falling 8-2.
While the strokes and fundamentals seem to be flowing fine for the Spartans, Joel said his team will take some time this week to perfect the doubles matches, moreover looking to crash the net off of volleys more often. Serving will also be on the docket, but Joel said there were too many points lost at the net Tuesday night by being too reserved.
Next up is the postseason for GC/G-R. They’ll take on South Hardin on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Byrnes Park Tennis Center in Waterloo. The Spartans beat the Tigers on Friday 6-3.
Aplington-Parkersburg 9, Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck 0
At Grundy Center
Korrigan Hippen (AP) def. Alexa Strickler 8-3
Maddie Waller (AP) def. Amber Laube 8-3
Heidi Haughstad (AP) def. Marissa Brown 7-1
Kelsie Tingle (AP) def. Courtney Cooper 8-3
Hannah Cline (AP) def. Reegan Zinkula 8-1
Clara Peterson (AP) def. Erika Johnson 8-4
Hippen and Waller (AP) def. Strickler and Laube 8-1
Haugstad and Tingle (AP) def. Cooper and Emily Ehrig 8-1
Cline and Peterson (AP) def. Zinkula and Johnson 8-2