It was two days of settling scores and moving up for the Tomah Timberwolves team at the Mississippi Valley girls tennis meet Sept. 25-27 in La Crosse.
After winning just one dual match during the regular season, Tomah jumped past one team and pulled even with another to finish tied for fourth in the final MVC standings.
The Timberwolves gained ground on their opponents thanks to three of their seven entries reaching the semifinals, including Lindsey Conway, who took second a number-one singles.
“They exceeded my expectations on the day and played to the level that I knew they could all season,” Tomah coach Andrew Johnson said.
Conway, the team’s only senior, established herself as the second-best player in the conference with a pair of victories to reach the finals. She defeated Giselle Fisher of La Crosse Aquinas in straight sets before winning a tough semifinal match over Enya Symaski of La Crosse Logan. They split the first two sets before Conway won the super tiebreaker 10-6.
In the championship round, Conway lost to MVC player of the year Faith Leithold of Onalaska 6-0, 6-3.
Johnson said Conway overcame early nerves to reach the championship round.
“Lindsey played some great tennis,” Johnson said. “I was most proud of how she did mentally on the court. Going into subsectionals Lindsey will be the number-two seed, which is exciting.”
Lillie McMullen pulled the tournament’s biggest upset by defeating second-seeded Elizabeth Burelbach of La Crosse Central in the opening round at number-two singles. McMullen won the first set 6-1 and Burelbach won the second set by the same score before McMullen won the super tiebreaker 10-8.
McMullen then lost her next two matches and finished fourth.
Tomah’s other opening-round victory came at number-two doubles, where Tomah’s team of Jordan Kuehl and Alli Batten prevailed in yet another super tiebreaker. They lost the first set to Marely Sanchez and Carly Mueller of Sparta before pitching a 6-0 shutout in the second set and winning the tiebreaker 10-6.
Kuehl and Batten lost in the semifinals before claiming third place with a dramatic 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 14-12 victory over Taylor Fox and Tessa Gundersen of Aquinas for third place.
“Alli and Jordan had the most dramatic matches on the day per usual,” Johnson said. “They did a great job beating Sparta and Aquinas, two teams they had lost to earlier in the year.”
Three other Tomah entries − Kendra Lene (number-four singles), Morgan Arch and Haley Bradley (number-one doubles) and Deidre Martin and Zoe Fitzpatrick (number-three doubles) lost in the first round but won two matches in the consolation bracket to claim fifth place. Arch and Bradley came from behind in both of their consolation matches to beat teams that defeated them earlier in the season.
The meet was strung out over three days due to rain. Tomah scored 12 points during the meet to finished with 25 for the season.
Onalaska won five of the seven flights to clinch the conference championship.
WIAA tournament action begins today (Monday) for the Timberwolves at the Division 1 La Crosse Central Subsectional, where Tomah and La Crosse Central will be joined by Baraboo, Holmen, La Crosse Logan, Onalaska, Portage, Reedsburg and Sparta.
Survivors advance to the Waunakee Sectional Thursday, Oct. 5, where berths for state individual and team tournaments will be on the line.
MVC GIRLS TENNIS
Final 2017 standings