DES MOINES — Depth and doubles play. It’s exactly what put the Ottumwa girls tennis team in position to run the table in the CIML Metro Conference play this season.
In what would be their final match of the season, the Bulldog girls gave their doubles a chance to send them off with a thrilling victory once again on Friday in a hard-fought battle with Des Moines Roosevelt. A dead-even split of six singles matches left the deciding contest for Metro supremacy in the hands of five final doubles matches.
With Roosevelt having won two of the first three in straight sets, two final matches went into third-set super tiebreakers. Needing both to win the match and an undisputed Metro crown, Ottumwa instead fell short by just six total points on the court as losses of 10-6 and 12-10 in decisive sets of the No. 2 and No. 4 doubles matches gave the Roughriders a hard-fought 7-4 win in the battle for the conference title with the Bulldogs.
“Neither team was ready to go down without a fight. It was a great battle for both teams to end things,” Ottumwa head girls tennis coach Emily Phommachack. “Our No. 4 doubles team (Caroline Carlson and Abagail Messer) have never played together, but the had great placement and Caroline served with great power. For the first time pairing up and to go to 12-10 in the final set is incredible.”
Juniors Jennifer Klodt, Hayli Beeson and Jill Ardueser all scored wins in their singles matches to get Ottumwa tied up at 3-3 going into doubles play. Another set of juniors, Sydney Grooms and Megan Black, picked up the lone doubles win for the Bulldogs with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Roosevelt all-senior No. 3 team of Kate Will and Andrea Nikic.
“They played so aggressive,” Phommachack said. “Megan set up Sydney with great lobs and Sydney attacked the net forcefully.”