In the regular season finale for both teams, it was a match befitting two of the areas better teams. It came down to the wire, with the Lady Minutemen leading 9-8 and their #2 doubles team of Georgia Wilder/Amanda Yee behind, 4-5, against Ashlinn and Elise Kingston. Wilder/Yee roared back, reeling off three straight games to win the set and secure a 10-8 victory. Had the Lady Minutemen and Cubs tied, 9-9, MHS would have won on games.
Huge for Maranatha was the play of their singles lineup. who took 8 of 9 sets. The much anticipated matchup between Maranatha’s #1, Madison Kane, and Mayfield’s #1 Lauren Panajotovic did not come to pass as Mayfield switched her to doubles. Kane recorded another perfect, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 match, her 13th of the season. In 45 sets played this season, Kane is 45-0, losing only 4 total games.
Though not to be taken for granted, a sweep was expected for Kane, whether Panajotovic played singles or not. What wasn’t as expected was the sweep by #2 Malena Smith, who despite playing with a sore back, scratched and clawed her way to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 sweep, which was crucial for Maranatha. Also crucial was the play of #3 singles, Stella Wang, who won two key sets, 6-2, 6-1, before losing a tight one, 4-6, to Mayfield’s #1.
It was a tough day for doubles as they only won 2 of 9 sets. #1 doubles, Michael Wilkins/Aria Haver-Hill had a particularly rough day, playing at a season low level of tennis. Though trying hard, they were completely out of sync today, showing very little of the form that got them to 43-1 entering this match and made them Olympic League doubles champs. They were swept 4-6, 0-6, 2-6 by capable teams, but teams they definitely can beat. As a key component to Maranatha’s success this season, they will need to find a way to regain their form and edge come playoff time if the Lady Minutemen hope to make a deep run.
Anchoring doubles today was the play of #2 Wilder/Yee, who opened with a dominant 6-0 victory over Panajotovic/Kennedy. Playing focused and spirited tennis, they played a free and aggressive brand of tennis that showed what they’re capable of when focused. In their second set, they dug themselves into a hole, giving away the first three games with unforced error after unforced error. They attempted a comeback, but by then it was too late, as they succumbed, 4-6. They fell behind again in their final set and played catch up the entire way, until finally prevailing, as reported above.
#3 doubles Rose Zhang/Shuhan Yang, though losing, 0-6, 0-6, 0-6, played well at times against superior teams and garnered valuable experience.
Next up for the Lady Minutemen is the Olympic League tourney, where the top 8 singles players and top 8 doubles teams in the league will compete for the league tourney title. The champions and runners-up will represent the league in the prestigious CIF Individuals Tournament at the end of the month, where many of the top players in the country will be playing.