DIXON – Anna Ivarson blooped a shot over the net on Wednesday, forcing Newman's Anne Vits to charge to her left.
Vits, a junior who has started the season on tear for the Comets at No. 2 singles, saved the shot, hitting it back to the Sterling freshman at Sauk Valley Community College.
Ivarson returned the shot, lobbing it toward the middle of her opponent's court. Vits reacted in time, and lined up for the backhand.
The racket didn't strike square and the ball lined harmlessly into the net, ending the tiebreaker and the match.
The victory not only sealed Ivarson's first varsity singles win, but it also gave Sterling a 3-2 win over the Comets.
"I felt such a huge amount of relief on the last shot," Ivarson said. "After losing 6-0 in the second set, and then having her rally back in the tiebreaker, I could feel the pressure.
"Anne is such a great competitor, but she's also really fun to play against. She's always positive out there and always encouraging even when you are playing against her."
Ivarson won the opening set 7-5 over Vits in the No. 2 singles match. It was the second time the two had faced off. They had tied 2-2 in a match this summer.
In the second set, the wheels fell off for Ivarson. She fell 6-0.
"I got frustrated with myself," Ivarson said. "I wasn't hitting my shots, and I got down. After the set, I came over and talked to my coach, and that got me focused again."
Ivarson took leads of 3-1 and 7-4 in the tiebreaker before Vits rallied to tie the score at seven. Vits hit three of the last four points into the net to fall 10-8.
"Anne just didn't have the focus the whole match like she has so far this season," Newman coach Ann Propheter said. "She's been playing really well. She worked hard this summer and went to a lot of USTA tournaments, but she's had a lot of matches this week, and I think that caught up with her."
Ivarson was playing her first singles match after starting the season at doubles.
"When the season started, I really felt we needed her in doubles," Sterling coach Kelly Reynolds said. "But, she's a really strong singles player. We decided that we'd give her a shot tonight and Thursday in singles. She got really excited when she found out she was playing singles."
Sterling, which is starting an almost completely new varsity lineup, also got wins at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles.
The No. 1 doubles team of Allie Shank and Grace Steinke beat Chantel Ordean and Rachel Heidersheit 6-3, 6-1.
The No. 3 doubles team of Charish O'Neil and Allie Prescott beat Taryn McKenna and Lupita Serrano 6-2, 6-2.
Newman's Mary Alice Oswalt won the No. 1 singles match 6-2, 6-2 over Maura Scanlan.
"Mary Alice is a little behind because she missed most of the summer with an ankle injury," Propheter said. "She also started using a new racket. She's starting to round into shape, and she's still been playing really well."
Newman's No. 2 doubles team of Emily and Christina Long beat Erin Ansusinha and Sarah Trobaugh 6-4, 6-3.