Norwalk wins host doubles tournament

Mark Hazelwood • Aug 17, 2019 at 10:40 PM

NORWALK — Emma Trost has played in the Norwalk Doubles Invitational three times.

The junior knows that in itself is a pretty good sign.

“It feels good, because each year you feel like you’ve moved up a little and gotten better,” Trost said.

Trost and classmate Lauren Metcalf teamed up to win the third doubles bracket on Saturday, while fellow juniors Kennedy Friend and Erin Bleile did the same at fourth doubles.

The two champions, along with two finalists at first and second doubles, allowed the Truckers to edge past Ashland to win its host tournament at the Middle School courts.

Norwalk finished with 100 points to top the eight-team field, just ahead of Ashland (90). Short-handed Willard (42) was third, while Bellevue (37) and Findlay (37) tied for fourth. Edison was sixth with 32 points, while Shelby and Amherst rounded out the field.

“It also feels good knowing that your win isn’t just for you, it’s also for your team, too,” Trost said. “You can be the best player in the world, but if you’re having a bad day, you have to get over that because it can make you worse.

“Our team is off to a good start,” she added. “Everyone from Norwalk today was a champion or runner-up, so I think we have good things in our future.”

Trost and Metcalf opened with a win over Bellevue’s Perla Monreal and Ella Little (6-1, 6-0). The pair then topped Ashland’s Chloe Watson and Maddie Moore (6-4, 6-2).

Facing Willard’s Natalie Van Zoest and Kayleigh Bowers in the finals, it was another strong performance with a 6-2, 6-0 victory.

“All the hard work you put in pays off when you win,” Metcalf said. “Emma and I have been such good friends, since kindergarten. She knows how I think and vice versa. It’s about communication, and keeping a level head and playing calm.”

At fourth doubles, Friend and Bleile opened with a win over Findlay’s Sydney Swisher and Libby Lamaster, 6-2, 7-6 (1). They then swept Bellevue’s Kaitlyn Cullen and Alivia Hamons (6-0, 6-0).

Facing Edison’s Lindsey Kowalski and Lilli Grant in the final, Friend and Bleile dropped one game in a 6-1, 6-0 win. Kowalski and Grant had advanced to the title match with a lengthy win over Ashland (6-4, 5-7, 10-3).

At first doubles, Norwalk’s Megan Berry and Gabby Horowitz started their day with a win over Edison’s Jayla Medina and Emily Vogus (6-4, 6-0). They swept Willard’s Addy Paxton and Whitney Robinson (6-0, 6-0) before falling to Ashland’s Korinne Harris and Audra McBride in the finals (6-2, 6-3).

At second doubles, the Norwalk pair of Mara Berry and Alexa Moore began with a win over Willard’s Kalli Sowers and Ella Schag (7-6 (1), 6-2), then beat Bellevue’s Rayven Whyde and Summer Strunk (6-1, 6-1).

Also facing Ashland in the finals, Mara Berry and Moore lost to Lydia Sinchok and Laura Slabaugh in two close sets, 7-6 (4), 6-4.

“The ladies played great today,” Norwalk coach Chris Higgins said. “It was outstanding to see the team reach the finals at all four doubles spots. Megan and Gabby had three really good matches today. hey faced a lot of the best local talent in Edison, Willard and Ashland. The championship match was a lot of high level points, but Ashland was more consistent.

“Mara and Alexa got off to a slow start (against Willard), but then rolled into the final,” he added. “Emma and Lauren were rolling most of the day. They proved that they were definitely a force at third doubles. Kennedy and Erin, outside of a tie-break set versus Findlay, won everything decisively. Winning at both third and fourth doubles really clinched the championship for us. It’s always great to win a tournament, but we are now focused on SBC play this week.”

At third doubles, Willard’s Van Zoest and Bowers swept the Amherst duo of Dakota Perkins and Brooke Peduzzi (6-0, 6-0), then won a long match over Findlay’s Katie Short and Miyu Uchiyama (7-6 (4), 4-6, 10-7).

“We were missing a few varsity players because of injury and the (Huron County) Fair, but very proud of our third doubles for taking second,” Willard coach Josh Bauerle said. “Kayleigh was making her varsity debut and they were scheduled to play fourth doubles, but got bumped up and still made the finals.

“First doubles started out slow,” he added. “We were mixing and matching and had two girls who had never played before. They came out down 0-3 and came back and got the win before running into a powerhouse from Norwalk in the second round. But they had a good day for not playing together before.”

After losing to Norwalk, Robinson and Paxton fought back to the third-place match, where they defaulted to Findlay. Bauerle also noted the second doubles team of Sowers and Schag had a 6-5 lead in the first set, but it narrowly got away from them.

“But then they came back and played strong in the consolation match,” he said. “And our fourth doubles, Naomi Schag is just a freshman also making her debut and Macey (Compton) has only had a handful of matches … but they got good experience today and got a win.”

Bellevue’s Whyde and Strunk also bounced back to take third at second doubles with an 8-3 win over Ashland. the No. 4 tandem of Cullen and Hamons finished fourth with an 8-3 loss to the Arrows.

Norwalk is scheduled to face Anthony Wayne at the Bowling Green State University courts at 4 p.m. on Monday, then opens SBC Lake Division play on Tuesday at Sandusky.

Willard will begin SBC Bay Division action on Tuesday at Oak Harbor, while Edison travels to Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic and Bellevue entertains Clyde.

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