Oakville High girls’ tennis team wins nine matches, most since winning 10 in 2004

Lindbergh’s Tanaka, Schaefer make their way to sectionals

By MARK McNAMARA

The Oakville High School girls’ tennis team bounced back without a problem.

After qualifying as a team to the state regional for the first time in school history and qualifying an individual to the state tournament in 2009, the Tigers lost eight of their top 10 players to graduation.

“I was really skeptical at the beginning of the year of how well we would do, but they had a really good year. I was very proud of them,” Oakville head coach Linda Gebauer said.

In a new state competition format, the Tigers produced a Class 2 district tournament individual champion, a district third-place medalist in doubles and a second-place finish at the team district tournament. They also won nine matches, its highest total since winning 10 in 2004.

“One of our strengths, I think, was that all the girls were pretty much at the same skill level. They pushed each other at practice,” Gebauer said.

As the No. 2 seed in District 1, senior Kristina Lupo won all three of her tournament matches, beating Poplar Bluff High School’s Marissa Kimberly McLane in the championship Oct. 7.

“She had to have a really great game to beat her. She had to play with a lot of patience,” Gebauer said.

Lupo’s season ended in a straight-set loss to Cor Jesu Academy’s Abigail Dolan at the sectional tournament Oct. 11.

Seniors Blair Lamatina and Theresa Ziegler had not played doubles together until the district tournament, but finished third. Ziegler did not play doubles tennis until the district tournament. They won two matches and lost one, with the loss coming in the semifinal against a duo from Jackson High School. The Tigers lost to Jackson 5-2 Oct. 5 to place second.

To get to the championship, Oakville survived a six-hour team match against Central (Cape Girardeau) High School.

At the Class 2 District 2 tournament, Lindbergh High senior Kristi Tanaka and junior Marie Schaefer lost in the doubles championship to a duo from Nerinx Hall High School, but still advanced to the sectional tournament. The Nerinx Hall pair and a Jackson duo that beat Tanaka and Schaefer in three sets at the sectional both advanced to the state tournament.