Bulldogs tennis nets home win vs. Arabians

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LAPEL — The Lapel girls tennis team defeated visiting Pendleton Heights 3-2 on Monday, April 26, in a match that had all eyes on the No. 1 doubles match.

Lapel’s Chloe Renihan and Gracie Lyons defeated Pendleton’s Cassidy Brandom and Chloe Steinke in three sets. While the Bulldogs took the first set 6-3, Brandom and Steinke battled hard to even the score, taking the second set 7-6. Renihan and Lyons were able to rebound and claim the match with a 6-3 third set score.

“It always feels like a big match,” Lapel coach Meg Fields said. “I am happy with our progress. I’ve been moving players around, but I think it’s good now.”

At No. 3 singles, Lapel’s Morgan Erwin defeated Bekah Snyder 6-2, 6-2, and the No. 2 doubles team of Georgia Manning and Mariah Mason took the match versus Arabians Chloe Kean and Faith Bluel 7-5, 6-3. Snyder was filling in at No. 3 singles.

“She’s been playing well, but they have a very solid singles player (Erwin, Lapel),” Arabians coach Royce Hammel said.

Pendleton’s Abby Cruser defeated Bailey Baxter 6-1, 6-0 in No. 1 singles. Despite the two-set loss, Baxter never made it easy for Cruser as there were several long rallies.

The Arabians’ other win was at No. 2 singles with Jessica Thompson defeating Kerith Renihan 6-4, 6-3.

As usual, a stiff breeze bore down on the Lapel courts. Wind play is a factor Hammel said he stresses often with the team.

“Sometimes you’re playing the wind more than you are the opponent,” he said.

Hammel is seeing the improvement in his team. Two years ago, the Arabians won just three matches during the season.

In her first season as head coach, Fields said the Bulldogs are headed in the right direction.

“I think there’s a lot of girls who could be up in that varsity spot,” Fields said. “Sure, I’d like that 4-1 or 5-0 win, but anytime you can pull out the win, I’m happy.”

Lapel was set to play host to Tipton on Wednesday, April 28 (after press time), and travel to Muncie Central today, Thursday, April 29.

The Arabians are now 5-5 (1-2, Hoosier Heritage Conference). They were set to travel to Rushville today, Thursday, April 29.