Undefeated singles play carries Kernels at state tourney
RAPID CITY -- The Mitchell High School girls tennis team got off to a fast start at the Class A state tournament at the Sioux Park and Parkview Tennis Complex.
The Kernels played to their high seeding and sit with Rapid City Christian as the top-two teams in the team standings. Mitchell is going for back-to-back state titles.
“Everybody won the matches they’re supposed to win,” MHS coach Pat Moller said. “... Once the seeds happen, you got to play the matches. We’re fortunate enough to have everybody play and win the matches they’re supposed to.”
It went 6-0 in singles play to stay in the championship bracket. They won all but one match in straight sets.
No. 3 seed Atlanta Stahle earned a 6-4, 6-4 win over Huron’s Audrey Rubish in Flight 1, while third-seeded Olivia Huber (Flight 2) notched a 6-2, 6-4 victory against Sydney Tedrow, of Pierre, 6-2, 6-4.
Mitchell owned the top seed in each of the bottom four flights. Amber Moller rebounded from a first-set loss to down Yankton’s Frannie Kouri, 2-6, 6-2, 10-8, in a close Flight 3 match. In Flight 4, Julia Platt took down Madison’s Savannah Shipley, 6-1, 6-1.
Kiersten Bathke (Flight 5) didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Spearfish’s Delaney Ensor. Megan Mastel completed the 6-0 singles start for the Kernels with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Vermillion’s Kasey Hanson.
“Our 1-through-6 players are all very solid players. There’s not a lot of drop off for us,” Moller said. “... We took advantage of that and won the matches we’re supposed to win.”
Mitchell carried the same success into doubles play. Huber and Bathke (Flight 2) and Delaney Degen and Platt (Flight 3) both made it to the championship match. Neither pair dropped a set, as they combined to go 4-0.
“We’re supposed to be in those matches and we got there,” Moller said. “To their credit, they’ve been playing solid tennis all year long and they continued to do that. Hopefully we can preserve and come through in the championship match.”
Stahle and Moller defeated Pierre 6-0, 6-2 in their first match, but then fell to top-seeded Rapid City Christian, 6-3, 6-1. The Flight 1 duo will play in the third-place match.
Mitchell concludes the state tournament today.
“That’s why we went through the schedule that we went through this year,” Moller said. “To prepare for the grind of the state tournament, (specifically) Day 2 of the state tournament when the cream rises to the top. We’re hoping we can play well in those matches.”