Big Rapids girls tennis team falls to Oilers in season finale

BIG RAPIDS — After a week of spotty weather, the Big Rapids girls tennis team was finally able to play its last regular season match of the year on Wednesday against Mt. Pleasant, losing 5-3 when the day was done.

With Haley McKenna missing from their usual No. 1 doubles squad, the Cardinals had to shift some players around, bringing Madeline White from No. 1 doubles to No. 3 singles. All of the doubles teams moved up one flight from their normal spots and Sydni Aris and Beatrice Iriti moved into the No. 4 doubles slot to round out the roster for Big Rapids.

FOCUS: Big Rapids’ Shay Feriend locks in on the ball as she hits a volley during girls tennis action versus Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday. The Cardinals closed out the regular season with a 5-3 loss to the Oilers. (Pioneer photo/Daine Pavloski)

FOCUS: Big Rapids’ Shay Feriend locks in on the ball as she hits a volley during girls tennis action versus Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday. The Cardinals closed out the regular season with a 5-3 loss to the Oilers. (Pioneer photo/Daine Pavloski)

The move to singles didn’t appear to faze White as she won for the Cardinals in her first singles action of the season, taking the first set, 6-3, before winning the second set 7-5. Crystal Brinker finished her season at No. 2 singles with a perfect 12-0 record, winning in straight sets (6-3, 6-0) while Madeline Langell stayed strong at No. 1 singles (6-0, 6-1) as she prepares for regionals on Friday.

“I’m happy that I played really well,” Langell said. “I’m really excited for regionals. It’s going to be really fun getting to play so many people and supporting my teammates. The key for me will be just keeping my strategy and sticking to it and then making sure to prepare before my match and keep my focus on what I’m trying to do.”

Amanda Smith fell at No. 4 singles (3-6, 4-6), giving the Cardinals a 3-1 advantage in singles play, but the Cardinals lost all four doubles flights to fall 5-3 to the Oilers.

Ericka Doke and Evan Solis lost at No. 1 doubles (0-6, 0-6), Jillian Weemaes and Shay Feriend lost at No. 2 doubles after winning the first set, 7-5, losing the next two 3-6 and 2-6. Gabrielle Weemaes and Sarah Hammond lost at No. 3 doubles (0-6, 1-6) and the team of Aris and Iriti lost at No. 4 doubles (1-6, 0-6).

“(Mt. Pleasant) is a tough team,” Big Rapids assistant coach Jan Eastley said. “I thought we really played tough and hung in there.”

The Cardinals lost their last regular season match, but the season isn’t over with Division 3 regionals coming up on Friday at Spring Lake.

The Cardinals will compete as a team against Cadillac, Cedar Springs, Coopersville, Fruitport, Fremont, Sparta, Spring Lake and Whitehall, and Langell, at No. 1 singles, will have the opportunity to move on to the State Finals at Kalamazoo College if she wins at regionals.

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