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Pirate netters look to build for season ahead
Pirate netters look to build for season aheadBy Jim Horvath

Running and hosting an all-day tennis tournament is one thing. Guiding your inexperienced team through the gauntlet that is the Rocky River Invitational is another.

Playing against some of the toughest competition it’ll face this season, the Rocky River tennis team managed to come away with some performances to build on, according to head coach Ben Purdy.

“This tournament is always a measuring stick for us,” Purdy said after his Pirates finished seventh in the eight-team field Friday afternoon.

“We’re young, and playing against competition like this certainly does reveal our weaknesses,” he said. “It’s tough when every match you play is against someone who is very experienced. Throw in a half dozen or so state qualifiers, and it can make for a long day.

“But a day like today shows us where we stand. We showed we can hit the ball with anyone, but it takes a lot of work to win three out of four points and put a game away. If we want to get better, we have some work to do,” he added.

River’s singles crew managed just one win in nine sets on the day. Sophomore Isabel Quinones, the team’s No. 1 singles player, got that during her first match of the day in a 6-2, 6-3 win over Sarah Patrick of Magnificat’s B team.

Her next opponent, however, was an imposing one. Quinones took on sate qualifier Lauren Golick of Westlake, dropping a 6-0, 6-0 decision to the eventual first singles champion. A 6-1, 6-1 loss to Magnificat’s Emily Witt in the consolation finals closed out her day.

“Isa’s got a lot of potential, and this was a great learning experience for her,” Purdy said. “It was a great learning experience for all of our players, When we compete here, we’re not thinking short term, but long term.”

River’s got one other fourth-place finish on the day, and that came from the second doubles team of Carrol Anton and Cara Mitchell. The Pirate duo scored a huge win early in the day that helped decide the overall team championship when they defeated Westlake’s Dana Miller and Marla Milano in the first round.

In the consolation finals, Anton and Mitchell lost to Hoover’s second doubles team, 6-0, 6-2.

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