The Ottawa girls tennis team has done nothing but win this season.
But the Lady Pirates’ most recent win didn’t come easy.
Ottawa swept the singles matches and pulled out a doubles win to edge rival La Salle-Peru 3-2 in an Interstate Eight Conference match Tuesday in La Salle.
“We got the job done,” Ottawa coach Steve Johnson said. “We looked sluggish at a couple locations that cost us and made it a nerve-racking dual match, which throw credit on L-P for playing well and making that happen. You don’t look bad on your own. You look bad because somebody does a good job. That’s where we were at today. They played well.”
L-P coach Aaron Guenther said he was pleased with how his team hung with Ottawa.
“Ottawa is a tough, tough team,” Guenther said. “I think we went toe to toe with them basically at every level. Whether the score was tight or there was a gap, our girls didn’t give up the entire time and competed from start to finish.”
The Lady Pirates improve to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference.
“Hopefully, getting (the lineup) right and spread out where we need to be for matches,” Johnson said about keys to the hot start. “I’m not sure I got it right today, but we got away with it.
“Our key right now is they’ve worked at it. It’s not a matter of what we’ve done this fall because it’s been so disjointed with practice as much as what they’ve done in summers and years past.”
In singles, Ottawa’s Ella Marvel defeated Carlie Miller 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1, while teammate Sara Meyer earned a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Lexi Michael at No. 2.
“They played solid,” Johnson said about his singles players. “Ella is a pretty darn good player. She’s going to do well against most people, especially in our area. I think people know that. Sara got a match she could win. The girl hasn't played very much. I think they have a bunch of fairly new players from volleyball or wherever else who are good athletes. Athletic will get you in there, but Sara is athletic and has played for quite a long time, so she was able to take care of business.”
Kyleigh Olszewski and Mary Riva beat L-P’s Karissa Etzenbach and Olivia Woods 6-4, 6-1 at No. 2 doubles to give the Lady Pirates the victory.
“We did pretty well today,” Olszewski said. “I’m happy with how it turned out. We communicated more. That’s something we’ve struggled with, but we have it down now.”
L-P’s Bri Strehl and Lauren Klein defeated Marta Johnson and Rebekah Felty 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1 doubles.
“I thought our No. 1 doubles team was really clicking today,” Guenther said. “It’s cool to see all the things we’re talking about at practice and all the things we’re working on really coming to light on the court.
“(We’ve worked on) being aggressive at the net for both of them. Bri is really strong up at the net, so it’s finishing points. Lauren has talent at the net, but sometimes just needs to be a little more aggressive in going after the ball. Seeing Bri finish points and Lauren go after the ball really helped them win today.”
At No. 3 doubles, L-P’s Kenzie DeFosse and Lauren Phillips outlasted Grace Satterfield and Avery Landers 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 in a match that lasted 2 hours, 45 minutes.
The Lady Cavaliers (5-2, 1-1 Interstate Eight) honored their seven seniors before the match.
“These seniors have demonstrated great leadership, great dedication and hard work,” Guenther said. “If you’re looking for a group of seniors to lead a program, this is it.”