The celebration started early for Hickman’s tennis team Monday.
With plans to go out for pizza after the match to mark the birthday of two team members, the Kewpies also had something to celebrate on the court beforehand.
Hickman, coming off of a series of close losses, broke through for a 5-4 victory against Hannibal, the Kewpies’ first win in their past six tries.
Kirsten Seaberg, a senior playing in her last match on Hickman courts, celebrated her 18th birthday, and teammate Laurel Creasey commemorated her 17th.
Katie Glenn and Carrie Ingersoll won with identical 6-0, 6-1 scores at No. 1 and 2 singles, and Creasey came from behind to beat Hannibal’s Katie Behrens 6-7, 6-3 (10-8) at No. 5, giving the Kewpies (4-9) a split in the six singles matches.
Needing two of the three doubles matches, Glenn and Ingersoll quickly triumphed at No. 1 with a straight set win.
With the match coming down to No. 2 doubles, Seaberg and fellow senior Amy Trae came out cold, losing their first set 1-6. They bounced back to win the second in convincing fashion, 6-1, and then took the tiebreaker 10-4.
“It was really wonderful,” Seaberg said. “Amy and I really wanted to do it for the team.”
Coach Jerry Price said he was pleased with the way the tandem overcame early adversity.
“They carried their singles loss over to that first set of doubles… but they were able to bring themselves out of that and get back into a really good, normal doubles flow,” he said.
If Price could find any fault with Hickman’s win, it was only that it went down to the wire.
“It was a very exciting win, and in typical cardiac fashion for them,” he said. “They dig a hole and claw themselves out into a win … It was nice to do it, but I can’t take too many of their heart-stopping matches.”
Even though it was Hickman’s last home match, they do play at Rock Bridge today and in the district here in Columbia on Saturday. Still, Price was bittersweet about the impending end of some of his players’ careers.
“It’s very fulfilling to see them get to the point where they understand how the game is played, the strategy of the game, and you’re able to see them come out as seniors and implement the road map of tennis,” he said. “That’s what’s very gratifying but also very sad, is that you see them reach a point where they have a great understanding of the game, and they begin to implement that, and then you say goodbye to them.”
Monday was a day for celebration, though. Creasey said her birthday and the win complimented each other.
“It was really special, it was a great present,” she said. “This is all I could ask for and what I really wanted. I’m really glad we won.”