The Grand Island Central Catholic girls tennis team came out on top at its home invitational by the slimmest of margins Thursday.
When all the results were in, the Crusaders finished the invitational tied with Kearney Catholic with 110 points.
But GICC won the title by having more games won over games played with a 71 percent winning percentage compared to Kearney Catholic’s 69 percent.
“Kearney Catholic is always tough and to eke out a victory is great,” GICC coach Matt Westfall said. “We’re still young and inexperienced. Early successes like this make practices a lot easier and enjoyable. It will lift everyone spirits.”
Most of the success came from freshman Sadie Goering, who had an impressive debut for the Crusaders.
In her five matches played, she lost only one game and that was in the final against Kearney Catholic’s Morgan Stute 8-1. Stute finished third at No. 2 singles last year.
“We expected a lot of Sadie and she really came through for us,” Westfall said. “There was an upset along the way but she still had a tough opponent in the final. She played a smart match. Her losing only one game all day really helped us out.”
The Crusaders got some points out of No. 2 singles’ player Jamie Bigley. The GICC senior went 3-2 and fell to Holdrege’s Annie Allmand 8-3 in the final. She reached the final on a tiebreaker in her pool.
“She really performed well,” Westfall said. “She played a couple varsity matches last year but this was her first day where she played a bunch in a day. She got us some important points and we are proud with how she played.”
Both doubles teams produced points for the Crusaders as well. The No. 1 doubles team of Katie Golka and Alex Rieke finished second in falling to Kearney Catholic’s Lauren and Michelle Messbarger, while the No. 2 doubles team of Kelsey Flaherty and Emma Reilly finished third.
“Both doubles teams did well,” Westfall said. “The team Katie and Alex played just did everything right and we did enough wrong but they played well together with it being their first year of playing together. The No. 2 doubles team also got us some important points for us and they are new to each other. They will get better as the year goes on.”
Westfall said he liked what he saw in GICC’s first meet of the season, but feels there’s some improvement that needs to be made.
“From what I saw, I was really encouraged,” Westfallsaid. “They’ve been doing the things we as coaches have been telling them to do. I think our movement needs to improve a little bit, along with not giving away points in double faults or unforced errors. Once we get a few more matches under us, that will improve.”
The Crusaders will be back in action in a dual Tuesday at Kearney Catholic.
*Grand Island Central Catholic 110, Kearney Catholic 110, Holdrege 82, York 82, Lincoln Christian 78, Waverly 54, Crete 52, Wilber-Clatonia 42, Lexington 34, Hastings St. Cecilia 16.
No. 1 singles — Sadie Georing, GICC, def. Morgan Stute, Kearney Catholic, 8-1.
No. 2 singles — Annie Allmand, Holdrege, def. Jamie Bigley, GICC, 8-3.
No. 1 doubles — Lauren Messbarger/Michelle Messbarger, Kearney Catholic, def. Katie Golka/Alex Rieke, GICC, 8-1.
No. 2 doubles — Allison DeMoss/Brooke Meusch, Kearney Catholic, def. Hayley Nienhueser/Taylor Peterson, York, 8-4.