Before Monday’s girls tennis match started, Seymour served Columbus North a little curveball.
Owls coach Jennifer Miller moved senior Emma Wood, who had played No. 1 singles all season, to No. 1 doubles. The move paid off in wins at both doubles positions, but the 23rd-ranked Bull Dogs swept the singles spots to claim a 3-2 victory.
“Putting Emma down at doubles definitely strengthens their doubles, but it probably weakens their singles,” North coach Kendal Hammel said. “We had the advantage in the three singles spots for sure. I’m a little disappointed in our doubles.”
Seymour (5-2) took a 1-0 lead when Wood and Lindsey Hume finished off a 6-0, 6-2 win against Yijaing Zhao and Hannah Frey at No. 1 singles. Not long after that, the other four matches finished within a couple minutes of each other.
The first one of those came at No. 2 singles, where North’s Paige Littrell beat Megan Baurle 6-2, 6-1.
“We didn’t know the lineup coming into it,” Littrell said. “We still thought Emma would be playing 1 singles, but after we were told that, 1 doubles, we knew we’d struggle, but I think we were hoping for all three singles spots and the 2 doubles spot.”
At almost the exact same time, North’s Madelyn Sanders finished off a 6-1, 7-5 win against Lou-Anne Hoarau at No. 3 singles and Seymour’s Addie Rudge and Katie O’Mara completed a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Hannah Shoemaker and Shweta Srinivasan.
That meant the No. 1 singles battle would decide the match. Already leading 5-2 in the second set, North’s Aubrey Smith needed only one more game to finish off a 6-2, 6-2 win against Hallie Crenshaw and give the Bull Dogs (9-4) the victory.
“I thought that I would be playing Emma, so I thought it was going to be tougher, and the doubles would be easier that it was, but they switched that up,” Smith said. “We weren’t expecting that.”
Miller said the switch of Wood to doubles likely will be a permanent one.
“This is probably a good lineup for us for the tournament,” Miller said. “I was really confident with our doubles play going into this. This is a team that we are really likely to see again at the regional, so this is a good measuring stick for where we’re at and where we need to work between now and the end of May.”