BOONE — Coaches Kevin Cooper and Amanda Plymale called it “an amazing day.”
A new era of Creston/O-M girls tennis dawned in Class 1A regional singles and doubles play here Thursday.
Panther tennis sent a girls doubles team to state for the first time in 31 years, and nearly made it a clean sweep in the doubles competition.
Creston/O-M’s No. 1 and No. 2 players, Audrey Fyock and Jenna Taylor, improved their doubles record together to 8-0 by winning four matches and snaring one of two automatic state qualifying positions by reaching the finals. They beat Ballard’s Olivia Astarita and Meredith Ossian 6-1, 6-3 for the regional title.
They nearly met teammates Alli Thomsen and Angela Sorensen in the finals, which would have sent all four Panther girls to the state tournament June 5-6 in Iowa City.
Sorensen and Thomsen knocked off the No. 2-seeded doubles team from Osceola Clarke, seniors Cassidy Bierbrodt and Tracy Morgan, and met the Ballard team of Meredith Ossian and Olivia Astarita in the semifinals.
Thomsen and Sorensen split the first two sets. The Panther sophomores were then up 5-4 and serving for the win before Ossian and Astarita rallied to take three straight games for the 7-5 victory.
“Alli and Angela played one of the best matches I have seen in a long time against the number two seed from Clarke,” Cooper said. “It was a long grueling match that went three sets and was very intense the whole time. They came up just short in their bid to go to state in the semifinals.”
Plymale concurred, saying both doubles teams played hard throughout the day in some intense competition. With nearly every match close, Thomsen and Sorensen played a total of 114 games.
Taylor and Fyock got the No. 1 seed in a close vote, and lived up to their billing during an undefeated day. Winning a tiebreaker in the first set of the day against Kuemper’s Sara Lanbel and Karla Knobbe seemed to give them a thrust of momentum.
The only team to take a set from Taylor and Fyock was Ballard’s Rylee Cahill and Alex Peterson in the semifinals, and the Panther duo sailed 6-3 in the third set.
“Jenna and Audrey have worked hard the past two years an have provided great leadership for our team,” Cooper said. “For them to be district champions is absolutely amazing. They played great all day long.”
Caitlin McIlravy and Sydney Dunphy played singles for the Panthers and ran into high seeds early in being eliminated. Dunphy was defeated by top-seeded Libby Bemis of Clarke, who suffered an upset loss in the semifinals.
McIlravy was defeated by Kuemper’s Mattie Potthoff in the first round, but the first set went to an 11-9 tiebreaker.
“Both of them had tough draws and played some quality points, but came up short today,” Cooper said. “Good things are going to happen for them.”
Fyock is the only senior in the lineup. And with junior Ashley Harris out with illness Thursday, the rest of the Panther lineup was made up of sophomores. It’s shaping up as a bright future.
“What an amazing day of tennis for our girls program,” Cooper said. “We have been waiting for this day for a long time. I couldn’t be more proud of how this team competed today. We are still a young team, and this was an amazing experience for us.”
There has never been a girls singles qualifier for state from Creston. Previous doubles qualifiers were Janelle Johnson and Kelly Reed in 1980 and 1981; and the team of Becci Kouri and Jenni Holm in 1983.
Girls regional tennis
Region 3 at Boone
Singles — Emma Rose (Boone) def. Emily Jurgensen (Ballard) 2-6, 6-1, Default.
Doubles — Audrey Fyock-Jenna Taylor (Creston/Orient-Macksburg) def. Meredith Ossian-Olivia Astarita (Ballard) 6-1, 6-3.
Singles — Mattie Potthoff (Carroll Kuemper) def. Caitlin McIlravy (Cr) 7-6 (11-9), 1-6.
Singles — Libby Bemis (Clarke) def. Sydney Dunphy (Cr) 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles — Audrey Fyock-Jenna Taylor (Cr) def. Sara Lanbel-Karla Knobbe (Kuemper) 7-6 (7-1), 6-2; Fyock-Taylor (Cr) def. Carlie Romig-Morganne Borsh (Boone) 6-1, 7-5; Fyock-Taylor (Cr) def. Rylee Cahill-Alex Peterson (Ballard) 6-0, 3-6, 6-3; Fyock-Taylor (Cr) def. Olivia Astarita-Meredith Ossian (Ballard) 6-1, 6-3.
Doubles — Alli Thomsen-Angela Sorensen (Cr) def. Madsen-M. Nelson (Saydel) 6-1, 6-3; Thomsen-Sorensen (Cr) def. Cassidy Bierbrodt-Tracy Morgan (Clarke) 6-2, 5-7, 6-4; Olivida Astarita-Meredith Ossian (Ballard) def. Thomsen-Sorensen (Cr) 7-5, 4-6, 7-5; Thomsen-Sorensen (Cr) def. Rylee Cahill-Alex Peterson (Ballard) 4-6, 6-1, 10-7.