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Spartans rally past Mohawks

By KATRINA BRANSON - kbranson@shelbynews.com

The Southwestern tennis team defeated Waldron on the road Tuesday afternoon, 4-1. Wins for the Spartans came in all three singles events, as well as one at No. 2 doubles due to forfeit.

The standout player Tuesday was No. 2 singles competitor Abby Sweet.

“Abby Sweet was definitely a standout today,” said Southwestern head coach Brian Ebersold. “She's just a very powerful kid. We had a comeback match with Jenna Kuntz at No. 1 singles, and she was able to grab the win there -- at the end of the match she was showing me that is who she is. She just has to get past her little gremlins and play her match, and that's what she did.”

Sweet defeated Waldron's Caroline Schaeffer (6-0, 6-1) while Kuntz defeated Waldron's Halley Huber (4-6, 6-1, 10-6) in a tiebreaker.

At No. 3 singles, Southwestern's Hailey Bowman defeated Lily Sizemore (6-0, 6-4).

“Hailey is just solid,” said Ebersold. “I know she had a little hiccup mid-match and got a little frustrated, but, again, I just talked to her about how this is a game of errors. Of all the sports in the world, this is the game where you can make mistakes."

The Spartans' No. 2 doubles team of Talice Relleke and Lenesha Smith were forced to forfeit after Smith went down with an injury.

“Talice and Lenesha were looking good until Lenesha hurt her knee,” said Ebersold. “We'll have to be doing some moving around, but I'm hoping we'll get to get her back in at some point. I don't think it's a season-ending injury there.”

An impressive standout for Waldron coach Chelsea Platt was Huber at No. 1 singles.

“Halley Huber I would say had one of the best matches I've seen her play, and I've watched her for a couple of years,” Platt said, who is in her first season leading the girls' varsity team. “She played a really good No. 1 singles player from Southwestern, and she held her own and played her game. She didn't switch it up and try and play someone else's game. I think she did really well.”

Platt admits that twins Amanada and Emily Brinson had an off night at the No. 1 doubles position, but that is just fine.

“I told them to play their game and keep their head in it,” said Platt. “They definitely had an off day, but I think it's good for them to have an off day. I think it's good for everyone to have an off day, so that you don't get used to just winning all the time -- I think it's good for them.”

Although the Lady Mohawks didn't win Tuesday against Southwestern, they won their opener against Edinburg -- the team's first win in three years.

“It felt great and it felt even better seeing our senior and junior get their first team wins of their tennis careers,” said Platt. “That's why I was so excited about it -- they played and put in so much time and effort into this program -- I just wanted to give the reward of winning a match.”

Waldron faces Trinity Lutheran today at home as it continues to look to improve.

“We have to step up our singles game at No. 1 singles and No. 2,” said Platt. “We've won at No. 3 singles, we just have to do the same with the others.”

Meanwhile, Southwestern will travel to Knightstown for a match Friday.

“(Knightstown) has a pretty good squad, and I know their coaches pretty well,” said Ebersold. “I know they have a good group.”

Katrina Branson is a Sports writer for The Shelbyville News. Follow Katrina on Twitter @k_b527.