Jefferson remains unbeaten
It took a reversal of a previous doubles match up to keep the Thomas Jefferson girls tennis team unbeaten in a 3-2 defeat of visiting cross-district Todd Beamer. The Raiders' SPSL 4A Central record improved to 6-0 while the Titans fell to a deceiving 1-5.
On Thursday, April 22, the squads split the singles matches. Sophomore Breanna Ziccarrelli of Jefferson controlled the corners and alleys to stroke past sophomore Taylor Lunka, 6-1, 6-1, in the No. 1 spot.
In a duel of freshmen newcomers, the Titans' Kiele Bowman emerged with a hard fought, 6-4, 7-5, No. 2 victory against Michelle Lee.
As the battleground switched to doubles, Jefferson featured normal No. 1 singles player Averi Kitsch teaming with fellow senior Mackenzie Qualls with Caroline Min visiting a prospective college. The Jefferson duo clicked well to defeat the talented pair of senior Jessica Sutcliff and freshman Jenny Hoefel, 6-1, 6-2, for the No. 1.
"For me, it seems I'm learning a lot," said Hoefel. "This year is the first time I've been in high school competition. It's fun."
Returning fire, the Todd Beamer tandem of juniors Sandina Antoine and Ruth Yi overcame a 6-3 loss in the first set to pass Raider seniors Hayley Albrecht and Cherina Warnes, 6-4, 6-2, in the following sets to annex the No. 3 doubles into the TJ win column.
Friendly revenge was part of the motivation in the No. 2 doubles. Jefferson's Vanessa Sariego and Kristy Nakamura lost to TB seniors Sara Miller and Kelly Erikson in three sets.
This time the Raiders pounded out a 6-0 first set before bolting to a 5-2 lead en route to a 6-3 second set triumph.
"They communicated really well and played solidly," a pleased Jefferson head coach Andrew Buchan reported. "When they lost in three sets before, they lost the second set and their confidence. This time they kept the pressure on."
On the bright side for Beamer, its 1-5 record includes several close losses including 3-2 defeats at the hands of defending Class 4A state tri-champion Decatur and the talented and deep Raiders.
"Our No. 1 doubles team of Jessica and Jenny has been doing well," attested first year Titan coach Tyler Parsons. "We've been fighting with every team out there and have great potential. We should be surprising some teams and people the rest of the season. Jenny started playing doubles with Jessica in our third or fourth match. Last season, Jessica played at district with Melissa Canfield. Jenny plays a lot like Melissa at net and Jessica is solid. The girls enjoy playing together."
Todd beamer finished at 8-8 last season and count on return of the varsity players and the additions of Hoefel and Bowman to persevere in regular and post season play.