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Oak Ridge tennis places second in league

By: Matt Long
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Oak Ridge High’s tennis team wrapped up play in the Delta River League with an 8-2 record last week, finishing with a pair of wins over Pleasant Grove and Ponderosa. The Trojans’ only league losses have come against St. Francis, as they proved they can more than hold their own at the Division I level. The team plays in the league singles and doubles tournament this week before starting the team playoffs on Tuesday. “We have some work to do to compete for the section championship, but we’ll get a good measure of our progress this year when the playoffs start,” Oak Ridge coach Ralph Clark said. Oak Ridge handled Pleasant Grove on Wednesday, winning 9-0, a marked improvement from an earlier 7-2 win. That improvement pleased Clark. “The first contest with Pleasant Grove was pretty close with two three-set wins while several others were close,” Clark said. “This time they only won 25 games the entire match.” Four Oak Ridge seniors participated in their final league match of their careers and came away victors. Katrina Lund, playing at No. 2 singles, won 6-3, 6-4, while Victoria Waugh shut out her opponent at No. 3 singles, 6-0, 6-0. Kaitlin Corell won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 6 singles, while Morgan Dial teamed with Megan Eaves to win at No. 3 doubles, 6-2, 6-3. Also winning singles matches were Tori Trylovich (6-2, 6-2), Julia Lund (6-1, 6-0) and Julia Dunnigan (6-0, 6-2). Lauren Roppolo and Alexis Hill won at No. 1 doubles (6-1, 6-1), while Gabby Zeagler and Tia Nguyen came away with a 6-0, 6-3 win at No. 2 doubles. Clark had six starters out of the lineup against Ponderosa on Oct. 18 and the team barely came away with a 5-4 victory. While the win was a little too close for comfort, it did wonders for the girls who participated in it. “As we look toward the playoffs, I’m looking for ways to put “playoff pressure” on the girls,” Clark said. “I do this by resting some starters. This allows the girls to play to their potential when all the chips are on the table. The girls stepped up and got us the five wins we needed.” Oak Ridge won five of six singles matches in straight sets to take the match. Dunnigan (6-3, 6-1), Roppolo (6-4, 6-2), Hill (6-1, 6-0), Zeagler (6-2, 6-3) and Rachael Librach (6-4, 6-3) earned the wins. “It’s a little worrisome when the match is coming down to a freshman that’s been moved up six spots on the ladder,” Clark said of Librach. “But Rachael is a freshman in name only. She has a great understanding of the game and strategies and continues to develop her strokes.” Clark also had good things to say about other players too. “Alexis has been a reluctant singles player in the past, but you’d never know it from watching her,” Clark said. “She’s been playing very steady and with confidence. Gabby is a grinder and I know I can count on her. If you plan on beating her, you need to be prepared to hit 20 balls on every point and not too many high school players are prepared to do that.”