MASON — East Clinton’s doubles team of Allison Tong and Marissa Williams dropped a heartbreaking three-set match Thursday in the first round of the Division II district tennis tournament at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.
Tong and Williams lost to Jordan Jones and Victoria Nordquist of Tippecanoe 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
“Our girls fought for every point,” said EC head coach Spencer Powell. “There were a couple bad breaks, a couple unforced errors, but they fought through everything.”
The East Clinton pair started slowly, falling behind 3-0 before dropping the opening set 6-2.
“I wouldn’t say it was nerves,” Powell said. “We kind of came out a little flat, I suppose. They’ve been here (at the Lindner Family Tennis Center) before. They knew what they had to do.”
After finishing the sectional tournament with four straight three-set matches, a comeback seemed destined. Tong and Williams jumped out to a 3-0 lead as they took the middle set 6-3.
“They love their tennis,” Powell said of his senior doubles team. “They want to get as many points, as many shots as they can.”
In the final set, the teams traded breaks of serve. East Clinton would serve for the match at 5-4, but Tippecanoe would win the final three games of the match to secure the victory.
Jones and Nordquist were defeated in the district quarterfinals by Kathryn Adam and Sara Bissantz of Summit Country Day, 6-0, 6-0.
Despite the defeat, Tong and Williams were happy to be sectional champions and happy they played well at the district level.
“It feels good considering we never thought we’d make it past the first round of sectionals,” said Williams.
“Our freshman year, we lost first round,” Tong added. “It was nice the last couple years we made it to the third round of sectionals. It was nice to get over that hump.”
There was always one school standing in their way at sectionals.
“We always lost to CHCA,” Williams said. “We finally defeated them this year, which was really good.”
The duo hopes they have set the bar for future members of the East Clinton girls tennis team.
“Nobody from East Clinton in the last 10 or so years has made it this far,” Williams said. “So it’s setting the level for our upcoming tennis players”
Powell was incredibly proud of what his two seniors had accomplished.
“I’ve just enjoyed this year with them,” Powell said. “It’s huge for the program. We’re very proud of them at East Clinton, and wish the best for them in the future wherever they go.”
It is fitting that Tong and Williams would get to wrap up their careers together, as they entered the program together as freshmen.
“It means a lot because we started out our freshman year together,” Tong said.
“We played singles the last three years in regular season, then we’ve always come together at sectionals to play doubles together just to see how far we could make it as a team,” Williams said. “This year, it’s been pretty successful.”
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