Prep tennis; Flivvers win tight flights, sweep Esky

ESCANABA – Kingsford continued its mastery over opposing girls’ tennis teams Thursday, handing the Escanaba Eskymos an 8-0 loss.

The victory enabled the Flivvers to improve to 11-0 in dual meets this season.

Some matches were competitive, however, especially No. 2 doubles in which Ali VanPembrook and Jadyn Jennings outlasted Esky’s Audrey Wilson and Breanna Dault 5-7, 7-5, 6-4.

“That was an important match for seeding purposes heading into the (Great Northern) conference meet,” said Kingsford coach Mark Shanks. “That was obviously the match of the day.”

Wilson and Dault led 3-2 in the final set. The Flivvers, however, tied the count when a return by Dault sailed out of bounds, then gained a 4-3 lead on a double fault.

Esky pulled even at 4 on a double fault. But VanPembrook and Jennings then put the finishing touches on their victory just as rain began to move into the area.

“We’ve improved in some flights,” said Esky coach Dennis Lueneburg. “What I like about our girls is they’re always trying to compete as hard as they can. Sometimes their frustration shows. Competing like this is new to some of our girls. What they have to understand is they sometimes need to have short memories. They also need to understand how to let the game open up to them, which you can only get through more court time and hitting a ton of balls.”

Wilson and Dault led 3-0 in the second set, but were unable to keep the upper hand.

“They (Wilson-Dault) brought their A game,” said Lueneburg. “Only, they had some line issues and it bothered them. They were sad when they lost the last set. I’m actually glad when the girls get a little upset when they lose. But after about a half-hour, they should get over it. Win or lose, you should never walk off the court totally satisfied because you can always do better.”

The remaining doubles matches were also competitive. Anna Shanks-Kate Lamy topped Olivia Berquist-Shelby Gregoire 6-2, 7-5 in No. 1. Megan VanPembrook-Taylor Jacobson defeated Olivia LaForest-Emily LaFave 7-5, 7-5 at No. 3 and Abby Johnson-Kelsey Bennett beat Paige Lancour-Mary Houle 7-6, 6-3 in No. 4.

“I know 8-0 makes this look like a blowout, but it really wasn’t,” said coach Shanks. “Escanaba has really improved from the first time we played them (in a 7-1 victory at Kingsford on Sept. 4). They have some good players.”

Lueneburg had similar thoughts on that issue.

“I’m happy with our scores compared to the last time we played them,” he said. “We just played better today. Kingsford has a lot of kids who’ve been playing a while and they’re good kids.”

No. 1 singles was also reasonably competitive where Kingsford senior Hannah Tresedder took a 6-3, 6-3 decision from Johanna Snowden on this cloudy and windy day.

“It was a good match,” said Tresedder, who hopes to play tennis in college. “She’s a good player. I enjoy playing her. It took a while to get used to the wind. It’s actually easier playing into the wind because you can hit the ball harder. When you’re playing with the wind on your back, it tends to carry the ball further than you want.”

The Flivvers are idle until Wednesday when they host the GNC meet. They also host the Upper Peninsula Division 1 Finals Oct. 2.

“It will be nice to be home for the GNCs and U.P. Finals because we’re used to the courts,” said Tresedder. “We also don’t have to get up as early and ride the bus.”

Esky travels to Marinette for a dual meet Monday prior to Wednesday’s league meet.