Tigers top Lindbergh for berth in sectional

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lindbergh made the long trip to Cape Girardeau for Tuesday's Class 2 regional tennis match.

The match was over pretty quick.

The Central Tigers made quick work of the Flyers in a 5-0 victory to earn a spot in Saturday's sectional at Kirkwood High School.

The Tigers will face Kirkwood, the Class 2 District 2 champion, in the sectional round during the morning. Parkway South and Nerinx Hall will meet in the other match, with the quarterfinal set for that afternoon.

Central heads into the weekend playing well. The Tigers, who finished second in Class 2 District 1, dropped just 10 games in the five matches.

"We had great practice [Monday]," Central coach Annette Slattery said, "and we came out ready to play."

Central had beaten Lindbergh 5-2 in a match where players were limited to singles or doubles. That format is not used in state tournament team play.

"We're a better dual match team when you can double back," Slattery said.

Sarah Ford and Lindsey Pingel, who make up the state-qualified doubles team after winning a district title for the second straight year, won both in doubles and singles on Tuesday.

Ford and Pingel teamed up for a 6-0, 6-0 win against Suzie Mullen and Chelsea Scott. The duo improved to 23-1 for the season.

At No. 2 doubles, Christen Edmonds and Kristen Ford defeated Kerri Gallagher and Hollyce Zeller 6-2, 6-2. The No. 3 doubles team of Claire Segar and Carsen Bahn beat Caroline Mertenz and Liz Renner 6-1, 6-1.

Ford and Pingel clinched the match with their singles victories.

Ford beat Rachel Raineri 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles, while Pingel beat Laura Gier 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2.

"I don't think a lot of people realize how solid of singles players they are," Slattery said.

Ford improved to 13-4, while Pingel improved to 15-2.

The Tigers come into the sectional confident of their chances to make the final four for the first time since 1995. Central finished two points behind Parkway South in Saturday's District 1 tournament. The Tigers were eliminated by Parkway South in the sectional round last year, but the four-team grouping included state power St. Joseph's Academy, which has four state titles since 2000, including the last two.

The Tigers this year will go to a sectional that doesn't include St. Joe's Academy for the first time since their current streak of sectional appearances began in 2003.

"I think we've got a shot, but I try not to look too far ahead," Slattery said. "We know we have a little opportunity, whereas, unfortunately in the past when we've seen St. Joseph's in our sectional and we've known. It's not like you can't beat anybody, but 99 percent of the time, the better team is going to win. With anybody else, there's a shot."

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