River Valley got the better of Galion in Mid Ohio Athletic Conference girls tennis action Thursday at Heise Park. The Lady Vikings edged the Lady Tigers, 3-2.
The difference in the match came at second doubles, which saw Galion forfeit the match due to being shorthanded. The Lady Tigers were missing three players.
On the up side, Galion (0-5) won two of the three singles matches. Seniors Katelyn Smith and Cassidy Ivy were each victorious in grueling three-set contests that lasted more than two hours. Smith, a three-year letter winner, knocked off River Valley’s Izzy Smith, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. Ivy, with two varsity letters to her credit, rallied from a one-set deficit to defeat River Valley’s Taylor Hawk, 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.
“The seniors set a good example for the younger kids,” said Galion head coach Bob Roesch. “They teach them that they’ve got to play hard and never give up, and just battle back. It’s good for our younger kids to watch this. Katelyn and Cassidy spent a long time on the court today. I’m very pleased with their work ethic.”
Smith and Ivy are the only seniors on the Lady Tigers squad this season, and the only two players with any varsity experience. Galion has five freshmen on the squad this season.
“A lot of freshmen are having to step up and play out of position,” Roesch said. “They should be playing JV and they’re stuck on the varsity. They’re performing well and they’ve got great attitudes. They’re working hard.”
Julie Lackey of River Valley scored the lone singles win for her side, dispatching Galion freshman Kayley Gimble in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1.
In the number one doubles match, the River Valley duo of Leah DeVore and Allison Edwards earned a straight sets victory over Galion’s Dani Court and Kirsten Gifford, 6-3, 6-1.
Despite the setback, Roesch said he continues to see improvement from the Lady Tigers.
“We’ve been playing better every week,” he said. “Our girls are getting stronger and playing better, making good decisions as far as the placement of the ball. It takes time to learn those little techniques, but we’re getting better and better.”
Struggling on the tennis court is a new experience for the Galion girls team. The Lady Tigers compiled a 72-8 record over the previous four seasons. Losing eight seniors to graduation has played a large role in the shakeup for the team in 2015.
Galion will play its next three matches at Heise Park. The Lady Tigers face Ontario at 11 a.m. Saturday. Galion will play host to Upper Sandusky on Monday and Jonathan Alder on Tuesday. Both matches start at 4:15 p.m.
Reach Carter at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048, or on Twitter @ACGalionSports.