After a strong season, one in which they compiled a 10-5 mark and finished second in the Ohio Cardinal Conference regular season with a 6-1 mark, the only way the Generals were going to be able to fully enjoy that was if they finished strong.
That’s exactly what Wooster did. After posting 26 points in the regular season to finish behind regular-season and tournament-champion Lexington, Wooster staved off the rest of the OCC pack to take runner-up honors.
“We had 26 points (in the regular season) and had 19 in the tournament, so it was nearly half,” said Wooster coach Stan Burris, who shared the Coach of the Year honors with West Holmes’ Jason Otto. Lexington, which was undefeated in the regular season, finished with 65 points, followed by Wooster (45), West Holmes (40), Orrville (30.5), Ashland (28), Madison (13.5), Clear Fork (8) and Mansfield Senior (0).
Wooster posted 2-1 records at four of the five spots, including first- and second-round wins at second and third singles, as well as first doubles. Getting those early wins, as well as winning two out of three head-to-head matches against West Holmes, was what helped the Generals bring home the second-place hardware.
“They did a nice job,” said Burris. “We knew going in we were separated by two to three points from West Holmes and we knew going in that they would get a first out of (three-time OCC Player of the Year and defending state champion) Rachel Nelson, which would earn them seven points. We knew we would have to go as far as we could on each court and wins as many first rounds and when playing head-to-head with West Holmes as we could.
“In head-to-head, we lost our first second-doubles match, won second singles and won at first doubles. We had to get at least two of three to hold our position and we did.”
They did that with strong performances in singles play. Senior Ally Bucher won her first match, dropped her second and then won the battle for third by defeating Orrville’s Hallie Adcock 8-4.
Petit gave the Generals a boost by winning her first two matches – including a 5-7, 6-1 (10-5 tiebreaker) decision over West Holmes’ Marki Hogle before losing to Lexington’s Alexandra Greibling, the first of four straight titles for the Lady Lex.
Landers duplicated Petit’s mark, winning her first two matches before falling to Lexington’s Emily Wong in consecutive 6-0 sets, while Guttman and Ballard won their first two before being blanked 6-0, 6-0 in their championship match against Lexington’s Courtney and Maya Ahmed.
“It wasn’t an easy day. There were some tough matches that were closely contested but we were able to fight through some tiebreakers and advance point-wise,” said Burris. “All of our second-place kids lost to Lex in the finals – they are still pretty good.”
Petit’s match against Hogle was important for the Generals.
“I think Amanda Petit’s match against Hogle” was a key showdown for the Generals, said Burris. “Amanda lost to her 7-5, 6-1 in the regular season. Amanda was up 5-4 and lost 7-5 in the tournament, but she came back strong in the second set and the tiebreaker. That was a nice progression after losing to her in the regular season. That was crucial for us in terms of being able to hang onto second place.”
“I knew it would be a really tough match,” said Petit. “I was hoping my game would continue to be as successful as it had been throughout the day and to keep an open mind. (Losing in the regular season) was definitely running through my mind. Marki had improved so much over the winter and spring. Losing to her earlier (in the season) took a toll on my mind-set. In the first set I started get mad with how I was playing and I was discouraged. Going into the second set I told myself to stay calm and what happened, happened. That proved to be successful. Basically I moved her side to side and tried to wear her down. Luckily it worked.”
In the end, there were no surprises for the Generals.
“I’m glad there wasn’t a surprise,” said Burris. “We’ve been competing hard all season. We were competitive in third sets and competitive against teams we knew we had to do well against. The best surprise was there was no surprise.”
Wooster competed in the Division I sectional tournament in Canton Oct. 1.
Published: October 8, 2012