Fast-starting Ford-Pingel falls short of medal

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Central doubles team stumbled after winning its opening game.

SPRINGFIELD -- If the Missouri State High School Activities Association tennis tournament decided its matches with just a single set, Central's Sarah Ford and Lindsey Pingel may well have won a medal ... or competed for a state championship.

The Tigers seniors fell one match short of standing on the podium Saturday afternoon at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield.

For the fourth time in as many matches at the state meet, the Tigers doubles team came out on fire and won the opening set in their consolation semifinal match against Nerinx Hall's Pam Ganer and Leslie Ganer.

But the Ganers, who finished second in the state meet last year and had beaten Ford and Pingel twice earlier this season, rebounded for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory.

Ford and Pingel finished among the top eight in the 16-team draw at the state meet.

"It would have been nice to have won this one and gotten medals, but this is as far as we have gotten, and I feel good," said Ford, who will be attending the University of Mississippi next year.

Pingel, who will likely be attending the University of Missouri next year, also was pleased with the way the duo played all weekend.

"I am proud of both of us," Pingel said. "It was a fun four years, and and it was great that we were able to make it to Saturday this year. We played as hard as we could for three sets today. We left it all on the table."

Tigers coach Annette Slattery was taking it all in at her final appearance as a coach in her 25-year career as she joined the Tigers players and parents to watch a singles semifinal match.

"It was great to be out here on a Saturday as players instead of observers," Slattery said. "These girls prepared all year and I am very proud of them. I am sad but happy to go out with the highest finish ever for a Cape Central doubles team. It is a major accomplishment for these girls."

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