TROY – And on the third day, they finally played tennis.
The Greater Western Ohio Conference Gold Flight tennis tournament was originally scheduled for Tuesday this week, but rain ruined that. It was postponed until Wednesday, but another quick shower foiled that as well.
So onto Thursday where the girls from Greenville and the rest of the Gold Flight teams encountered a chilly, but dry afternoon which gave them the room necessary to compete on the courts in Troy.
All three of Greenville’s singles players – Natalie Milligan, Emily Marchal and Abby Swensen – were seeded sixth in the tournament, and all three wound up placing fifth overall. Milligan lost her opening match at first singles to Springboro’s Katelyn Mazurek 8-0, but battled back to defeat Miamisburg’s Abbie Campbell 8-6 in the second round and then she topped Troy’s Katie Sherrick 8-2 to claim the fifth-place battle.
“I think I played really well,” Milligan said after her win over Campbell in the second match. “I didn’t really get a lot of time to warm up before my first match which went pretty quick. It was nice to get in a match where I felt a little bit better about how I was playing.
“I wasn’t expecting to win but I fought hard and stayed in the match,” she continued. “I was down 5-3 but the pressure is off here because you can just play your best here and it is for fun. Sectionals will be more intense. I tried not to think about the score too much. I just tried to stay in the game, work on placement and make sure I’m set up for every volley. I take my time with my serve and try to get it in. The best thing is to try to keep playing your game. If I’m hitting a lot of slices and they’re not working then maybe I’ll try to hit deeper and come in on an approach shot back to one of the corners, or I’ll go up to the net more or maybe put a little more spin on my serve. I went to the net a few times and it worked to my advantage. It’s hard to judge when sometimes because you have to get a really good shot either down the line or an across court shot that is hard for them to get.”
Marchal and Swensen met with similar results as both lost their opening round matches. Marchal fell to Springboro’s Alyssa McGarvey 8-2 and Swensen lost 8-5 to Tippecanoe’s Mira Patel. But both did exactly as Milligan did by winning their next two matches to claim fifth place at second and third singles respectively. Marchal topped Vandalia Butler’s Erin Dean 8-2 in the second round and then defeated Mary-Kate Bussert of Miamisburg 8-1 to earn her fifth-place finish. Swensen beat Jo Velasco of Vandalia Butler 8-4 in her second match and then battled hard with a lead to beat Miamisburg’s Eden Hill 8-6 to finish in fifth place.
“Fifth place feels pretty good,” said Marchal, who was runner-up at third singles last year in the GWOC tournament. “I did change a few things after losing to Springboro in the first round. We were really excited to be in the gold bracket, but it is also really stiff competition here so that should help us for sectionals next week.
“At GWOC last year I was second at third singles,” she continued. “That was exciting. I had no idea of what to expect at GWOC last year. I think I did better this year even though last year I was second because I think the competition is tougher the higher you get in singles play. I’m pretty happy with it today.”
Greenville’s doubles tandems – Marabelle Lance and Anna Manges at first doubles and Amanda Chui and Felicity Lance at second doubles – fared almost as well as their singles teammates, but lost in their fifth place matches to fall into sixth place.
“They did all right. There was a lot of tough competition here today with Centerville, Springboro, and Miamisburg among others,” GHS coach Jim Koontz said. “Our goal is to make the top eight in order to be here in the Gold Flight and we did that. I’m proud of them for that.
“The tough competition here is good for them too with the sectional coming up next week,” he continued. “I feel really good about where our girls are finishing today. These kids always play hard. They never quit. I’m happy with the way they played today and finishing the way they did.”
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.