By Brad Fauber
WOODSTOCK -- Central's girls tennis team survived a tough test against visiting John Champe on Tuesday evening, as the Falcons squeezed out a competitive 5-4 win in a Conference 28 matchup.
The two teams ended the singles sets in a 3-3 tie, and the Falcons and John Champe split wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles to set up a match-deciding set at No. 1 doubles. At the end of the day, Central seniors Katelyn Foltz and Rebecca Truban topped John Champe sophomores Anahita Moseberry and Ja'che Malone, 11-10 (7-4 tiebreaker), at No. 1 doubles to seal the victory for the Falcons.
"[It was] good for Katelyn and Pip [Truban] to experience a tough match and come out on top," Falcons coach Mallory Skarupa said.
"It was a challenge from top to bottom with a lot of close matches. I'm proud of the way my No. 5 [Egyptia Azilinon] placed the ball today and [of] Pip and Emma [Linesberry] for two more solid wins at singles."
John Champe started strong on Tuesday, as Bhavya Ravigopal beat Falcons senior Alissandra Rodriguez, 10-2, at No. 4 singles and Moseberry quickly followed with a 10-1 win over Foltz at No. 1 singles to give the Knights a 2-0 lead.
But Central (2-1) answered by turning in three straight victories, beginning with Azilinon's 10-2 win over Ciaira Bryant at No. 5 singles. Falcons junior Emma Lineberry followed with a 10-6 win over Catherine Kraiman at No. 3 singles to tie the score at 2-2.
Truban then followed with a 10-5 win over Malone at No. 2 singles to give the Falcons a 3-2 lead. Truban started quickly in the opening games of the set, as she raced out to a 3-0 lead before the set became more competitive. Truban, who was battling some shoulder soreness, held serve to seal the set victory.
"I thought I started out stronger than I ended. I kind of lost focus towards the end," Truban said. "My serves were doing really well the first few [games], and then I guess my shoulder started to hurt.
"I wasn't really adapting really well because she was hitting them short. I should've adapted and been on my toes a little more, but I wasn't."
John Champe tied the match at 3-3 when Nourhan Abdou finished out a 10-8 victory over Central junior Desiree Williams in a competitive set at No. 6 singles.
In No. 2 doubles, Lineberry and Rodriguez beat the Knights' duo of Kraiman and Ravigopal, 10-6. John Champe won at No. 3 doubles, as Bryant and Maddie Trosman beat Central's Emily Dysart and Brooklyn Pumphrey, 10-8.
We have had to deal with some adversity with weather and limited practices from basketball and school field trips. We haven't had the same line-up yet, so our chemistry is still developing," Skarupa said. "Proud of our fight tonight. We are getting better each match and that's what you want early in the season."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org