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April 29, 2012

H.S. GIRLS' TENNIS: MATCH ON HOLD

Conclusion of third Jeff-NA matchup will take place Monday in Jeff Triple Dual

JEFFERSONVILLE — The New Albany and Jeffersonville girls’ tennis teams will have to wait until Monday in determining the victor of the third matchup of the season between the two rivals.

The Red Devils and the Bulldogs squared off in the third round of the Jeffersonville Triple Dual on Saturday at the Jeffersonville High School Tennis Center. Earlier this season, New Albany downed Jeff in their first meeting (4-1), followed by the Bulldogs winning an all-doubles match against the Red Devils (3-2).

Jeff and New Albany were tied at two early Saturday evening before thunderstorms forced the match to be suspended. At the time, the final individual match on the court was the No. 1 singles duel between New Albany junior Erin Kanii and Jeff junior Morgan Reilly. The match will resume at 4 p.m. on Monday at Jeff.

Kanii and Reilly won one set apiece and are expected to play a super tiebreaker to determine the match winner on Monday.

In the first set, Reilly rallied from a 3-0 deficit by winning seven of the final nine games to win the set, 7-5. Kanii, who filled in for New Albany’s usual No. 1 singles player, senior Maddy Bellew, responded to Reilly’s first-set win by capturing a highly-competitive second set in a tiebreaker, 7-3.

Bulldogs’ head coach Bob Dusch lauded the way Kanii, who normally plays No. 2 singles, hung with Reilly.

“I was really pleased,” Dusch said. “Even though she was very fatigued, she didn’t show it.”

Kanii’s twin sister, Marin Kanii, needed the super tiebreaker to down the Red Devils’ Julianna Jenks at No. 2 singles, 4-6, 6-2 (10-7).

Jeff head coach Mark Reilly has been impressed with the play of the New Albany singles players all season, especially the Kanii twins.

“New Albany’s one, two and three singles are really solid. It tells a lot about them when their No. 2 can compete with Morgan,” Coach Reilly said. “With those twins, you can’t tell if they are winning or losing. Their emotions are kept in check.”

The Bulldogs’ other point came at No. 1 doubles. The New Albany tandem of sophomore Lauren Hoffer and freshman Anne Mattox upended Rachel Williams and Kaitlin Wunsch, 7-6(7-3), 6-3. Hoffer and Mattox won the final six games of the second set after trailing 3-0.

The Red Devils’ two points came at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles. At three singles, Jeff sophomore Emily Lewis cruised past Bulldog freshman Rachel Johnson, 6-1, 6-1. At two doubles, the Red Devil pair of Katie Bowen and Abby Roth edged New Albany’s Haley Young and Racquel Burch in a super tiebreaker, 6-3, 4-6 (10-8).

“I thought two doubles winning that match against New Albany kept us in the running,” said Coach Reilly, who said Bowen was playing varsity for the first time this season and Roth has had limited varsity experience. “They stepped up and did a good job. When they get experience like that, it is going to be good for them in the future.”

The Bulldogs began the day with a 3-2 victory over Hoosier Hills Conference rival Columbus East in the first round of the triple dual.

Erin Kanii prevailed at two singles over the Olympians’ Megan Galle, 6-2, 6-0. Marin Kanii defeated East’s Risa Mineno at No. 3 singles, 6-3, 6-3. At No. 2 doubles, the New Albany duo of Hoffer and Chandini Bhimani beat the Olympians’ Lauren Fox and Pooja Pandita, 6-1, 6-2.

In the second round, the Bulldogs battled hard against 14th-ranked Bloomington North in a 3-2 loss.

The Kanii twins each won their respective singles matches. At two singles, Erin Kanii knocked off the Cougars’ Taylor Bode, 7-6(7-3), 6-3. Marin Kanii upended North’s Belle Douglas at No. 3 singles, 6-4, 6-1.

Dusch had to juggle his lineup throughout the day, as a handful of his players had to leave the triple dual to get ready for New Albany’s prom on Saturday night.

“Considering we played with a makeshift lineup and I used a lot of freshmen and sophomores, we beat a good Columbus East team today. That was very encouraging,” Dusch said. “We competed with Bloomington North, and Jeffersonville is a pretty good team. I was very happy with Erin and Marin today.”

The Red Devils suffered losses in their first two matches. They opened the day with a 4-1 loss to Bloomington North. Morgan Reilly had Jeff’s lone point, which was a No. 1 singles victory over the Cougars’ Sarah Coghlan 6-3, 3-6 (10-4).

Jeff suffered a 5-0 setback to the Olympians in its second match. Lewis came the closest to victory for the Red Devils, losing in a super tiebreaker to Mineno at three singles 4-6, 6-2 (10-7).

It was a long day of tennis at the Jeff High Tennis Center. Matches began at 10:30 a.m. and lasted until the suspension of the Erin Kanii-Morgan Reilly matchup at about 7:30 p.m.

Most of the Jeff players and a few of the New Albany players competed in three matches on Saturday.

“It’s like taking three tests back-to-back-to-back,” Coach Reilly said. “It’s physical, but it’s also mental. I think days like this will help us down the road.”

Dusch agrees with the Red Devil boss that the triple dual should have a positive impact on his players in the near future, especially when the Bulldogs play in the HHC Tournament and the IHSAA state tournament.

“It will help us with the conference tournament because we faced good competition today,” Dusch said. “It should make us mentally tougher. I think a day like today is beneficial to us.”

New Albany will host Jennings County on Thursday. Then the Bulldogs will join the Red Devils at the Jasper Invitational next Friday and Saturday.

Bloomington North was the only team to go 3-0 in the triple dual. The Cougars defeated Columbus East, which ended up 1-2, in their third-round battle, 3-2.

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