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Girls tennis: Pivotal Sterling-Dixon doubles matches postponed by rain

NIB-12 showdown to be continued

Sterling junior Maura Scanlan, who turned 16 on Tuesday, hits a forehand against Dixon's Jenna Longan during the No. 1 singles match in Sterling. Scanlan won 6-1, 6-1, but Sterling led just 2-1 in matches with two doubles matches outstanding when rain postponed the NIB-12 meet.
Sterling junior Maura Scanlan, who turned 16 on Tuesday, hits a forehand against Dixon's Jenna Longan during the No. 1 singles match in Sterling. Scanlan won 6-1, 6-1, but Sterling led just 2-1 in matches with two doubles matches outstanding when rain postponed the NIB-12 meet.

STERLING – Maura Scanlan and Anna Ivarson were both defiant.

The former, a Sterling sophomore, was floored that she arrived at the Sterling Secretary of State office well before it opened at 8 a.m. on her 16th birthday, only to find out her instructor didn’t send the approval for her driver’s license.

The latter, a freshman, stood defiantly as the rain fell in the evening. She and her new No. 1 doubles partner, Allie Shank, had surrendered the momentum they worked so hard to steal. After rallying to win the first set over Hayley Kent and Jessica VanOosten in a tiebreaker, Ivarson and Shank saw the Dixon duo storm back and seize a 5-0 lead in the second set.

“I’m really excited to get back out there for a rematch,” Ivarson said to Shank.

It wasn’t to be. And Scanlan just had to wait until today to get her driver’s license. Someday, they might look back on Tuesday as an important education in patience.

Scanlan was already being adult about it and willing to blame the iPad that failed to send her information, according to driver’s education instructor Jon Schlemmer. He resent the info Tuesday and assured her she’ll be able to drive to school this morning.

“I don’t blame him,” Scanlan said. “It’s not his fault, and I definitely feel his pain. Younger kids are into the technology. Older people are getting used to it. Gradually.”

Moments before the match was postponed – it will be determined today when the teams, tied with 1-1 records in the NIB-12, will make it up – Dixon coach Steve Boll predicted the match would be decided by mental toughness.

His Duchesses had already been swept in singles play – Scanlan winning 6-1, 6-1 over Jenna Longan at No. 1, and Erin Ansusinha beating Katie Hammitt 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2 – but his doubles teams were showing true grit.

Moments before players darted for their respective buses, Maribeth Johnson and Stephanie Tressel took the tiebreaker 7-2 to beat Charish O’Neal and Katie Schauff 6-3, 7-6 at No. 2 doubles.

“We really didn’t want to play a third set,” Tressel said.

“You just have to focus and make sure you get everything in and be consistent,” Johnson said.

“Every point counts in a tiebreaker,” Tressel added.

Sarah Trobaugh and Sidney Lippens – a junior-varsity call-up because Grace Steinke was unable to go – led Joan Bratt and Rachael Turffs 6-1, 4-6, 4-3 in their No. 3 doubles match when play was suspended.

With Steinke out, Sterling coach Kelly Reynolds and former head coach-turned assistant Kip Aitken had a decision to make – an easy one, it turns out. Ivarson slid up to No. 1 doubles, despite she and Shank never having so much as practiced together.

“We both said Anna, because she’s the one who could do it,” Reynolds said. “We could put her there, and she wouldn’t be intimidated. She’s not afraid. At all.”

So much was obvious when she outfoxed Kent at the net for the decisive point in the first set, capping Sterling’s rally from down 5-4 to win 7-6 (7-2). Kent tried to rifle a tailor-made smash past Ivarson, but the frosh showed extraordinary reflexes in returning it. Perhaps surprised, Kent sent the next shot deep.

“She’s really nice, but she is really tall and intimidating at the net kind of,” Ivarson said of Kent. “But her shots aren’t impossible to get, even though they’re really good.”

VanOosten said the key to seizing the 5-0 lead – where we still stand – was immediately shrugging off Sterling’s rally.

“It’s frustrating at first, but then you have to let it go. You have to. It’s a must,” Van Oosten said. “You have to continue forward, if that makes sense. If you don’t, you’re just going to take it out on every ball you hit.”

“The worst emotion to play tennis with is anger,” Kent said.

Reynolds was visibly bummed to not complete the match. She’d heard the forecast and got the meet started half an hour early.

But considering the number of momentum shifts, who knows when the two outstanding matches would have been completed.

“They were great matches, and the momentum swings in both directions were amazing,” Reynolds said. “We just wanted to finish it.”

Outstanding matches

No. 1 doubles: Anna Ivarson/Allie Shank (S) lead Jessica VanOosten/Hayley Kent 7-6 (7-2), 0-5

No. 3 doubles: Sidney Lippens/Sarah Trobaugh (S) lead Joan Bratt/Rachel Turffs 6-1, 4-6, 4-3

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