"I was calling and texting (Coach Phommachak) all day. My fourth-grade class was going off the wall," Nelson said. "I know the girls really missed her, but they adjusted to the assistant coaches being here and leading the way instead."
Once things got under way, Ardueser helped make things a lot easier on her coach. With a few sprinkles falling just as her No. 5 singles match with Kellie Murtle got started, Ardueser knew there wasn't much time to lose out on the court.
"I just wanted to keep her moving out there," Ardueser said. "I wanted to keep her going to her backhand. That was the main thing that worked for me."
Ardueser's 6-1, 6-0 win and Zingg's 6-0, 6-1 win over Diana Yang put Ottumwa up early before Lincoln rallied behind tougher wins in the No. 4 singles by Haley Johnson and Emily Cox, who beat Kelsey Granneman 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 in the top singles match to tie the dual a 3-3 heading into doubles. Again, Ottumwa relied on its depth as the Bulldogs started strong behind their No. 5 team of Anna Graeff and Abagail Messer, who won 6-1 and 6-2 to set an early tone.
Hayli Beeson and Ardueser followed right up, scoring a 6-1, 6-3 win of their own in the No. 2 doubles match. Sydney Grooms and Megan Black then put Lincoln away suddenly with a shutout sweep, 6-0, 6-0 in the No. 4 doubles to clinch a Metro-opening win for Ottumwa.
"The doubles are pretty important to us. We want to get as many wins as possible," Ardueser said. "I'm pretty proud of all the girls. Everyone on the team has been working really hard."
"To win four of those five doubles matches is big for all of our girls," Nelson added. "To see some of them going out in 1-0 and 0-0 is also really impressive, especially under the circumstances of us not being able to get out and practice as much this year."