Kirkwood ousts Central with 5-2 sectional victory

Sunday, October 15, 2006

KIRKWOOD, Mo. -- Lindsey Pingel's two victories weren't enough Saturday morning as the Central tennis team saw its season end with a 5-2 loss to Kirkwood in the Class 2 sectional at Kirkwood Park.

Pingel and fellow junior Sarah Ford will continue to the state tournament as a doubles team. They will compete Friday and Saturday at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Mo.

But the rest of the Tigers were unsuccessful in their bid to reach the team tournament.

"They were a little better than we were today," Central coach Annette Slattery said of the Pioneers, who went on to defeat Nerinx Hall 5-2 in the quarterfinal to earn a spot in the team final four Thursday. "We obviously did not have our best day, but the girls did play hard."

Ford and Pingel even got off to a slow start in their No. 1 doubles match against Rachel Stuhlmann and Bonnie Makovec. The Tigers twosome lost their first three games and trailed 4-1 before coming back to win the final five games of the opening set. They lost the first game of the second set and were even 3-3 when they broke Stuhlmann's serve after being down 40-0. They won the final two games and won the match 6-4, 6-3.

It was the only doubles win for Central, as Kirkwood won in straight sets at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles. The first set at No. 3 was decided on a tiebreaker, helping Kirkwood build a 2-1 lead.

Pingel was the only Central player in win in singles. She defeated Jen Mutrux of Kirkwooed 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2 singles.

Ford fell 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 to Stuhlmann, who is a singles state qualifier. Central also lost at Nos. 3 and 4 singles. Christen Edmonds fell to Lauren Kukla 6-3, 6-1 at No. 3, and Kristen Ford lost to Laura Richardson 6-4, 6-1 at No. 4.

Claire Segar was one point away from winning a first set tiebreaker at No. 5 when her match was stopped after Kirkwood clinched. Carsen Bahn's match at No. 6 also was stopped.

The focus now is on Ford and Pingel as they make a return trip to state in doubles.

"They can't go up to state and think they can get down 0-3 before waking up," Slattery said. "They have a tremendous record [24-1] but what counts the most will begin Friday. My expectations for them are the same as theirs. I want to be taking a picture of them on the podium."

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