Owls clip Braves on tennis court

It all came down to No. 1 doubles during a girls tennis match between Jackson County rivals Seymour and Brownstown Central on Thursday evening at Seymour.

The Braves won at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, while the host Owls won at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles.

The Owls’ Madison Pifer and Kristina Griffin were able to give Seymour the 3-2 win when they defeated the Braves’ Rachel Adkins and Carly Brown 7-5, 6-4 in the final two sets after losing the first set 7-6 (5).

The match extended into the second hour, and both teams were back and forth until the end.

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After capturing the final game, Pifer and Griffin high-fived each other before exiting the court through a manmade tunnel by teammates waiting to congratulate them.

“It was great,” Owls coach Jan Fenton said. “We talked about playing for the team and focusing on each shot, and they really came into it and were focused.”

Fenton said both girls were able to remain focused and showed mental toughness playing throughout the match.

“They did well by not letting anything distract them or get them down,” she said. “You definitely need that in tennis.”

Braves coach Erik Stangland said he wants his team to play with more will to win.

“We have to have some fire and girls that want to win,” he said. “You saw it on the other side in Seymour. They were constantly into it and trying to win, and we have to get to that point.”

He thinks that could put his team over the edge to win in close matches.

“I think sometimes, we have players that feel this is a fun activity instead of a sport, and I just want them to come out here ready and having that drive to win,” he said.

The Braves had success at singles Thursday evening.

Brownstown Central’s Laken Reynolds defeated Seymour’s Peyton Levine 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 singles, and Olivia Hackman followed with a 6-1, 6-3 defeat of Seymour’s Chloe Bryden at No. 2 singles.

Kirby Hill won the Owls’ only singles match by defeating Riley Roberts 6-3, 6-1.

The Owls found a spark at No. 2 doubles when Avery Ragon and Mallory Moore defeating the Braves’ Sydney Cockerham and Maggie Hogan 6-4, 6-3.

“They’re working together well and execute what they can,” Fenton said of Ragon and Moore. “They did well doing everything tonight and played well together.”

Stangland said he hopes his team can hit a groove and start consistently playing in sync.

“I hope in three weeks, we’re playing more together and show different scores,” said.

Fenton said she was glad to see the team have a successful night after losing a couple of players to injury and illness.

“We have a deep team, which is nice,” Fenton said. “I just asked the girls to place the ball where they could and make good shots.”

She said it was positive for the team to get a win against a sectional opponent.

“We know it’s going to take a lot because this was a close match,” Fenton said. “We have to remember what we learned playing here today and keep the ball rolling.”