Marshalltown girls tennis sweeps Waterloo East in regional opener

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown junior Olivia Brintnall, left, makes a running forehanded strike at the ball during her singles match in the Bobcats’ 5-0 sweep of Waterloo East in the Class 2A Region 4 dual team tournament on Monday in Marshalltown.

Last year a competitive Marshalltown girls tennis team was unceremoniously swept out of the first round of the first round of the Class 2A regional tournament by Ottumwa.

On Monday the Bobcat girls turned that result on its head with a 5-0 sweep of Waterloo East in the 2A Region 4 opener at MHS, something head coach John Fiscus said was incredibly satisfying after the way last season ended.

“It’s always nice to have the reward of winning one round,” he said. “Last year we had a good season but lost 5-0 in the first round, so it’s good that we won 5-0 today and we will see what Saturday brings.”

Not only was it a 5-0 sweep, Marshalltown (7-6) almost didn’t lose a game to the Trojans (0-16). Emily Miller, Mary Kate Gruening, Madi Finch and Olivia Brintnall at the Nos. 1-4 singles spots were all 6-0, 6-0, winners, and Grace Fisher ended the meet with a 6-0, 6-2, victory at No. 5 for the fifth-and-final win.

“It was a good team effort and it was good to just get the girls out on the court since we haven’t done anything since last Friday night,” Fiscus said.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown sophomore prepares to make a forehanded stab at the ball during her singles match in the Bobcats’ 5-0 sweep of Waterloo East in the Class 2A Region 4 tournament on Monday in Marshalltown.

With the first-round win the Bobcats now move on to face Cedar Falls in the regional semifinals on Saturday. Fiscus said the Tigers are a strong team, but his girls just need a bounce or two to go their way for an upset.

“We are going to try our hardest and what happens, happens,” he said.

Before taking on Cedar Falls in the team meet, however, the Marshalltown girls will have their 2A Region 5 individual meet on the same court on Wednesday. With that looming and, as Fiscus said, ‘perfect weather for tennis,’ the girls actually had a scrimmage against each other after defeating Waterloo East to prepare for the state qualifier.

“I’m having the girls stay after a little bit today to practice and work on some shots that they were not working on today and get them to feel comfortable and prepared,” Fiscus said. “You never know what the weather will be like tomorrow, so as long as it’s beautiful we’re going to be out here.”

Before Monday’s shellacking of the Trojans, the Bobcats had lost four-straight meets, so Fiscus said just seeing a victory again will go a long way toward getting his girls ready to compete on Wednesday.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown senior Emily Miller winds up for a forehanded hit on the ball during her singles match in the Bobcats’ 5-0 sweep of Waterloo East in the Class 2A Region 4 tournament on Monday in Marshalltown.

“They have to mentally prepare, last Friday’s practice was really good for the doubles team,” he said. “We practiced some things and we learned some things from Ames, which I think is the best team in the state, and I told them, ‘hey, you notice what they did, we can do that too.’ We’ve changed a few things little things like where they stand and where they will be at and hopefully that will go onto Wednesday, also.”

Fiscus didn’t shy away from putting a high set of goals out for his girls when it came to the regional individual meet either.

“My goal is to get at least one team in doubles through. They just have to get to the finals, if you get to the finals you move on,” he said. “Anything can happen, it all depends on who the other team puts up in doubles.”

Wednesday’s regional individual meet at Cedar Falls will start at 9 a.m., while the regional dual team meet against the Tigers at Cedar Falls is also slated for a 9 a.m. start Saturday.

Marshalltown 5, Waterloo East 0

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

At Marshalltown

Singles

Emily Miller (MHS) def. Erin McCay, 6-0, 6-0

Mary Kate Gruening (MHS) def. Alonni Baskerville, 6-0, 6-0

Madi Finch (MHS) def. Kimberley Inarrito-Rodriguez, 6-0, 6-0

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Olivia Brintnall (MHS) def. Kaytlen Johnson, 6-0, 6-0

Grace Fisher (MHS) def. Abigail Williams, 6-0, 6-2