LA SALLE – A group of La Salle-Peru tennis players stood behind the fence, hanging on every point of the No. 3 doubles match between the Cavaliers’ Bri Keith and Caitlin Traub and Dixon’s Elliot Lambert and Sophia Geise.
The spectators let out a big cheer when Keith and Traub pulled out a 2-6, 6-2, 10-4 victory to lift the Cavs to a 3-2 win over the Dukes in the final match of a triangular Thursday at the L-P Sports Complex.
“It’s always fun for the players – and a little stressful for the coaches – when the whole meet boils down to a third-set tiebreaker,” L-P coach Aaron Guenther said. “It was really cool to see them get that steely resolve and go in there and take care of business.”
Earlier in the day, Washington beat L-P, 4-1, and Dixon, 3-2.
“I don’t know if it was the early start or the different lineup [because of injuries], but I think we kind of came out a little flat, and I think that showed with losing, 4-1,” Guenther said.
Carlie Miller was the Cavs’ only winner against Washington, earning a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
Against Dixon, she defeated her friend and summer training partner Addison Arjes, 6-1, 6-1.
“We played travel tennis together this summer. It was really fun [to play her in a high school match],” Miller said. “I was supposed to play doubles tonight, but I’m really glad my coach switched the lineup.
“I think I placed my shots really well, and I played smart.”
Miller said she used the match against Washington to get back into the swing of singles after playing some No. 1 doubles recently.
“It was one of my first singles matches in a while, so I think it was kind of like a warmup match for Dixon, but I think I placed the ball pretty well and my serves were pretty good,” Miller said.
Miller, a returning state qualifier and reigning NewsTribune Girls Tennis Player of the year, improved to 13-2 in singles matches.
“I think I really improved since last season,” Miller said. “My serve is improving. I feel like I’m playing smarter, and I’m placing my shots better. All my hard work over the summer is really paying off, and I hope it’ll pay off at state this year.”
Against Dixon, Izzy Pohar and Ava Lannen won, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 1 doubles for the Cavs (8-2).
“Dixon went toe to toe with Washington, so to see Ava and Izzy go out there and kind of take it to Dixon was really neat to see,” Guenther said. “They played aggressive. They played energetic. That’s all you can ask for out of a doubles team.”
For Dixon (6-2), Arjes won, 6-4, 6-3, and Lambert and Geise earned a 6-2, 7-5 win at No. 3 doubles against Washington, while Leah Stees was a 6-0, 6-4 winner at No. 2 singles and Arielle Tefikin and Siena Kemmeren claimed a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 2 doubles against L-P.
“We came down for competition, and we got competition,” Dixon coach Jamie Brigl said. “I was really proud of my girls’ effort and hustle. We had some close matches that we wish would have gone the other way, but it’s improvement. We have a young group. Five of our top six are sophomores.
“I thought Addison did an awesome job at No. 1 singles. Our No. 3 doubles win against Washington and our No. 2 doubles win against L-P were really big. Leah Stees coming back after a pretty tough loss to Washington and getting that win at No. 2 singles showed that she has a lot of fight in her and even though she lost a close one, she reset herself and came back and played well.”