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Westminster pulls out tough matches, knocks off Ursuline in team district final

Westminster pulls out tough matches, knocks off Ursuline in team district final

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Class 1 District 6 girls tennis team championship: Westminster 5, Ursuline 2

Alexis Hackmann of Westminster returns a volley in a doubles match at the Class 1 District 6 team girls team tennis championships at Westmister Christian Academy in Town & Country, Missouri on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. Paul Baillargeon, Special to STLhighschoolsports.com

Westminster swept all six singles courts during the regular season in a girls tennis dual match victory against Ursuline.

But the Wildcats took nothing for granted Tuesday in their Class 1 District 6 team championship against the Bears at Westminster.

"The final score when we played them during the season was not reflective of how close the individual matches were," Westminster coach Madeline Jolly said. "Ursuline is a very scrappy team which keeps the ball in play. We knew it was going to be tight and that we would need to play well to advance."

Westminster did just that with a hard-fought 5-2 victory.

The clinching match at No. 6 singles was symbolic of the way the match went. Westminster's Alexis Hackmann and Ursuline's Alayna Quigley split sets. The third set was determined with a 10-point tiebreaker.

Quigley was within two points of bringing the Bears within a game at 4-3. But Hackmann won the last four points, winning the tiebreaker 10-8 and earning Westminster the clinching fifth court.

Westminster moved on to sectional play Monday and will play the winner of District 8, which is scheduled to conclude Thursday. Palmyra is the top seed in District 8.

Districts 5 and 7 will play each other in the other sectional match in that quarter of the draw. Clayton is the top seed in District 5 while Duchesne is the No. 1 seed in District 7.

"We are playing well at the right time, especially in doubles," Jolly said.

The Wildcats won two of the three doubles matches Tuesday. Avery Surber and Greta Larsen, who advanced to the individual sectional tournament in Mexico, won at No. 2 doubles while Kate Dempsey and Hackmann won at No. 3.

"We knew nothing was guaranteed," said Surber, a senior who teamed with Hailey Colley to earn a state medal with a sixth-place finish last year. "We knew we needed to play well and everyone totally brought their A game. If we play the way we did today we will be fine. It would be great to go to state as a team in my senior season."

Surber and Larsen both followed up their doubles win with victories in singles Tuesday. Larsen defeated Sarah Hanley at No. 2 while Surber beat Gabriella Meier, by identical 6-2, 6-4 scores.

"We had to show grit and mental discipline today, which we did," Jolly said.

Maura Quigley, who was the lone returning starter from an Ursuline team which finished third in Class 1 at the team state tournament last year, had an outstanding day.

Quigley defeated Keeley O'Meara 6-2, 6-1 at No. 1 singles and teamed with Hanley to defeat O'Meara and Ava Hornburg 8-4 at No. 1 doubles.

"It's always tight when we play them and this match was really close," Ursuline coach Rene Sigala said. "I thought the girls played great, the best we've played in a while."

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