Lynx take a cup half full attitude following setback against Ballard
Burney successful in singles, Nos. 1 and 2 doubles teams also win; WCHS?now 5-1
HUXLEY — The end of the run was probably inevitable, but Webster City girls’ tennis coach Mark Fisher wasn’t discouraged one bit as he chauffeured his players home Friday evening.
It was quite the opposite, in fact. Fisher was as upbeat as he’d been all week.
Coming off routs of Hampton-Dumont/CAL and Iowa Falls-Alden in which WCHS won 17 of 18 matches, Fisher thought his team played its best tennis of the week in Friday’s 8-3 road loss to Ballard, the Lynx first setback of the season.
And that, in a nutshell, is why sports are sometimes confusing and entertaining.
“On many of the courts (on Friday), it was by far the best tennis I’ve seen us play this year,” Fisher said. “This group has bought into the process and the idea of working to improve every day, and it showed again in the way they played. We knew this would be a test for us and it was, but our girls took it as a chance to test themselves, learn some things they need to be better with, and it gave them fuel to keep improving.”
Ballard (4-3), winners of four straight dual meets and 37 of 42 matches in those encounters, took five of the six singles bouts to seize the upper hand. WCHS (5-1) won the Nos. 1 and 2 doubles battles, but the Bombers’ lineup depth prevailed in the final three matches.
With five seniors and a junior in the singles lineup, Ballard utilized its athleticism to put WCHS on the defensive. The Bombers were also patient and collected the lion’s share of the points on long rallies.
“The great thing about playing Ballard is they will make you pay for your mistakes,” Fisher said. “Our girls got a chance to get burned by some mistakes that they had gotten away with in previous matches.”
Mackenzie Burney was the only singles winner for the Lynx, as she dominated early and late for a 10-5 win over MacKenna Heggen. Burney jumped out to a 5-2 lead, dropped back-to-back games, and then steamed ahead to win five of six.
“(Burney) really dominated her girl most of the match and dictated the points,” Fisher said. “She played some of her best tennis.”
Kayley Wibholm and McKinzey Koestner suffered their first singles losses of the season in the Nos. 1 and 5 roles, respectively. Ballard’s Brynna Huen was solid from the baseline and kept Wibholm at arm’s length throughout for a 10-3 win. Koestner took an early lead on Sydney Briggs, but the Ballard senior maintained her composure to rally for a 10-6 win over the WCHS freshman.
“Kayley played some very good points against a very good player and definitely got better as the match went on, but just didn’t have enough firepower at this point to finish off a match like that,” Fisher said. “Kinzey faced her first real adversity as she played an extremely good athlete. The future remains bright for her and it was a great experience for her to learn from.”
Wibholm evened the score with Huen in doubles, as she joined forces with Joslin Gourley for a 10-7 win over Huen and Heggen. Burney and Draeger — the Lynx only unbeaten doubles team — fought off a challenge from Claire Uselding and Ashley Wuestenberg for a 10-7 win.
“Joslin and Kayley got down early, but it was like something clicked and they started playing the best I’ve seen them,” Fisher said. “Mackenzie and Makaylee … pretty well dominated from start to end.”
It’s likely only going to get tougher for WCHS in May, which will start with a test against always talented Boone on Tuesday in Webster City.
Ballard 8, WCHS 3
Friday at Huxley
Brynna Huen (B) def. Kayley Wibholm 10-3. Mackenzie Burney (WC) def. MacKenna Heggen 10-5. Claire Uselding (B) def. Joslin Gourley 10-3. Ashley Wuestenberg (B) def. Makaylee Draeger 10-3. Sydney Briggs (B) def. McKinzey Koestner 10-6. Meghan Young (B) def. Jordyn Sullivan 10-0.
Wibholm/Gourley (WC) def. Huen/Heggen 10-7. Burney/Draeger (WC) def. Uselding/Wuestenberg 10-7. Briggs/Young (B) def. Koestner/Sullivan 10-5. Gracie Ross/Audra Jahn (B) def. Anna Atchison/Emma Stronger 10-2.