In the face of several challenges, the Perrysburg Lady Jackets Tennis Team rallied to upset the favored Anthony Wayne High School Generals.
The Jackets had lost a tough match just eight days earlier at Anthony Wayne High School, losing all three singles courts. Senior Julia Fujita and Sophomore Devika Bhavsar lead the way at doubles with a three-set victory while Senior Laney Hamilton narrowly missed victory in a three-set match that proved to be pivotal. The confidence of the team was not rattled, however.
Senior Sydney Onest, Sophomore Mona Abdul-Aziz and Senior Laney Hamilton bounced back quickly by defeating Napoleon High School decidedly in their next Northern Lakes League matchup on September 1st. The three singles players gave up just one combined game.
Rival Northview High School was the following challenge on Thursday, September 3rd. This time, it was Senior Grace Reiter’s and Junior Rachel Ward’s turn to be the heros. Their three-set victory proved to be what the Jackets needed to even things up in the NLL. During this match, Senior Laney Hamilton was commended by the opposing coaches for her sportsmanship towards her opponent.
Then the stage was set for the rematch against the Anthony Wayne Generals on Friday, September 4th. The Jackets would be playing at their home courts with the winner advancing in the OTCA Team Tournament. The Yellow Jackets needed to rearrange their lineup to give themselves the best chance to win, but this meant every player would be playing in a new position. Two players would play singles for the first time in the season and both doubles teams were playing together for the first time. Freshman Brianna Dunham was making her first varsity appearance.
Mona Abdul Aziz was perhaps the biggest team player that day. She moved up to first singles with an uphill battle against Anthony Wayne’s best player. She fought hard, but lost in two sets 6-0, 6-0. Julia Fujita and Brianna Dunham were paired at second doubles. After dropping the first set, they stormed back to win the second. The third set also featured a comeback, but this time it fell short. Julia and Brianna lost 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. The Jackets needed to win all three of the other courts.
Sydney Onest and Rachel Ward at first doubles rolled to a 6-3, 6-1 victory. Grace Reiter stayed patient to win a tight first set and then used her momentum to carry her to a 7-5, 6-2 win at third singles. It was all down to the last court to finish.
Devika Bhavsar did not know she was playing second singles until a few minutes before the match. Her first set was extremely close and she only lost by a few points in a tiebreak. She was able to pull out a competitive second set that ended around the same time that it became apparent that her court would determine the match. Devika would have to win with all the spectators, players and coaches watching her court. Despite the pressure, she remained incredibly calm and willed her way to a 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 victory.
Ultimately, tennis players can only directly impact the result of their own court. The Perrysburg Tennis team is proving, however, that their attitude, grit and support of each other can indirectly impact their teammates in a positive way.
The Yellow Jackets now advance to play either St. Ursula Academy or Findlay High School in the second round of the OTCA Team Tournament. After ten varsity matches, they have a record of 7 wins and 3 losses.