JASPER — Providence saw its season come to an end Saturday with a 3-2 loss to Washington in the Jasper Semistate.
Coach Scott Gurgol was confident his team would pull through Saturday.
“We matched up very well with Washington. Every coach I talked to for information on their team told me we should win at No. 1 singles and both doubles [matches],” said Gurgol, whose team finished its season with a 15-7 record.
As it played out, the Pioneers received 6-0, 6-0 victories from Halli Trinkle at No. 1 singles and their No. 1 doubles team of Natalie Boesing and Hannah Conder.
The Hatchets, however, won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 singles and 6-0, 6-2 at No. 3 before prevailing 7-6, 6-4 at No. 2 doubles.
“Washington earned this victory, but I think we got beat by the moment more than our opponent,” Gurgol said. “They didn’t get aces, hit winners or apply pressure with their shots. But, they handled the moment by keeping their nerves intact and making shots. On the three courts that Washington won, they made shots and we didn’t.”
At No. 2 singles, Providence’s Maria Popson won the first game, but did not win another against Alaina Thorne.
“Maria came out and won the first game of her match, and I thought that would give her confidence. The next two or three games were very close, I think they all went to deuce, but she didn’t get any of them,” Gurgol said. “Avery [Kraft at No. 3 singles] was level at 2-2 in the second set and the same thing happened. The next two or three games all went to deuce, and we didn’t win any of them.”
The No. 2 doubles match was similar in the respect that the Pioneers couldn’t maintain the momentum.
“Anna [Coe] and Emma [Kaelin] won two games in a row to get up 6-5 in the first set and we broke Washington’s serve to start the second set. In each case, I thought that was the moment it was going to click. But, we couldn’t keep the momentum on our side,” Gurgol said.
The Providence coach criticized his own work.
“Part of coaching is psychology. I failed at that today. I could not get our players to relax. Some people will wonder if we were too confident. I’d say we were not confident enough. We didn’t trust our training when the pressure hit,” Gurgol said.
Trinkle, the defending individual singles state champion, and the No. 1 doubles team of Boesing and Conder move on to compete in the individual state finals, which will take place June 7 and 8 at Park Tudor High School.
“Halli gets a chance to repeat as state champion,” Gurgol said. “She’s been hitting the ball great. She’s a five-star player, so I don’t have to do a whole lot of coaching for her, mostly just keep her focused and look for holes in her opponent’s game. Natalie and Hannah get their first taste of the individual state tourney. Washington’s coach said today that none of the boys’ teams in their area could beat these two girls. They hit with power and they are quick. That’s deadly in doubles.”