Allegan celebrated its conference championship by spray painting messages on the courts. The Tigers will begin using their new facility next school year. (Photo provided)
Members of the Allegan girls tennis team give coach Damien Arthur an unexpected shower. (Photo provided)
By Jason Wesseldyk
There’s domination. And then there’s complete, total and utter domination.
The performance by the Allegan girls tennis team at the SAC/Lakeland Conference Finals on Thursday, May 11, and Friday, May 12, falls into the second of those categories.
Not only did the Tigers win all eight flights, but they did so without dropping a single set as Allegan racked up 104 points compared to 94 for runner-up Niles Brandywine.
The Tigers—who are in their first year in the SAC/Lakeland after decades in the Wolverine Conference—entered the tournament ranked 10th in the Division 3, while Brandywine was ranked eighth.
“All the credit goes to these young ladies,” Allegan coach Damien Arthur said of his players. “We as coaches set up the practice plans and schedule a wide range of talented opponents to help prepare them. Then (the players) went out on the court and showed how much they have improved during the course of the season.”
The tournament acting as a going-away party for the current tennis courts, as Allegan will use its new facility beginning next school year.
“The ladies got to spray paint the courts in celebration,” Arthur said. “They even cut down the famous ‘Gary Ellis Court’ sign and had a picture taken with all of the current and former coaches and players in attendance. Plus, the ladies were nice enough to give me a water bath, too.
“What a great way to cap off the history of our eight courts. It’s definitely bittersweet, but the new facility will carry on our same tradition of Allegan tennis.”
The finals of the tournament looked like a dual meet between the Tigers and Brandywine as six of the eight flights featured that matchup.
Allegan’s winning scores from those matches were: No. 2 singles Addy Fales won 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 singles Bristyn Neldon won 6-4, 6-4; No. 4 singles McKenna Morrie won 6-0, 6-1; No. 1 doubles Emma Kuebler/Hailey Fuller won 6-2, 6-0; No. 2 doubles Grace Davis/Ragen Meeter won 6-1, 6-2; and No. 3 doubles Taylor Fuller/Luna Ruiz won 6-0, 6-2.
At No. 1 singles, Grace Clearwater beat a Hackett opponent 6-1, 6-0, while the No. 4 doubles team of Hanna Kievit/Sophia Augustine downed Berrien Springs 7-6, 6-3.
“There was a lot of great, confident play was on display for our 12 ladies,” Arthur said. “Coaches, parents, family members and alumni were very proud of how well these ladies played.
“It was a great day to create one last memory on the old courts. I was happy and proud to celebrate such a great day with the ladies, my fellow coaches and (legendary Allegan coach) Gary (Ellis).”