The Knights closed out their season with back-to-back losses Saturday at the Division II state tennis tournament, but Lauren Hawley and Amanda Showalter were feeling anything but defeated.
“We’re pretty excited about next season,” Showalter, a freshman, said. “Actually, I’m excited to see what happens over the next three seasons.”
Alter coach John Kirk feels the same way.
“These girls have a lot to proud of,” he said. “And we return our entire team next year.”
Hawley and Showalter finished fourth in the DII state doubles tournament Saturday at the Elysium Tennis Center in Plain City after losing to Indian Hill’s Meredith Breda and Caroline Andersen, 6-2, 6-4. It was the second time in as many weeks that the Knights fell to the same opponent; Indian Hill beat Alter for the district championship one week earlier.
“They played really well,” Hawley said of Indian Hill. “All of the competition at state was really tough.”
While it was the first state trip for both Hawley and Showalter, nerves didn’t appear to be a problem Friday in the first two rounds as the Knights were the only local team to make it through the day without a loss.
“I think, going in on Friday, we knew we could play with both teams we faced,” Kirk said. “The girls seemed relaxed from the beginning.”
It looked like the Knights were on track for more of the same on Saturday as they took the first set 6-4 over Lexington’s Elise Betscher and Jillian Earnest. But Lexington battled back, advancing to the championship with a come-from-behind win, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
“I think we started getting a little tight and they really upped their game,” Showalter said.
After playing more than three hours and not being able to capitalize on a pair of match points, the Knights had some trouble bouncing back for the third-place match.
“It was a real heart-breaker,” Kirk said. “It was very emotional for them.”
While the outcome wasn’t what they hoped for, the state experience was priceless.
“Our goal, this year, was to make it to this point,” Showalter said. “Next year, we will definitely want more.”
• State round-up: The first round proved to be the stopping point for most of the area’s state qualifiers. Chaminade Julienne’s Natalie Allen, Miami Valley School’s Rheanna Morehart and Carroll’s Jillian Milano all bowed out in the first round of DII singles play. Milano lost to eventual champion Ariana Iranpour, Hathaway Brown, while Morehart lost to Danielle Buchinsky, Laurel, who placed fourth.
In DII doubles play, Oakwood’s Megan Connelly and Annika Aebker suffered a first-round loss to eventual state champions Adrian Young and Alissa Nakamoto, of Pepper Pike Orange.