East Peoria's banner girls tennis season continues
- The East Peoria girls tennis team defeated Washington Oct. 2 in a match shortened by darkness.
The East Peoria girls tennis team defeated Washington Oct. 2 in a match shortened by darkness.
The guest Raiders won, 5-2, while calling the final two doubles matches of the non-conference meeting.
Nicole Montgomery (6-0, 6-1), Jessica Smith (7-5, 3-6, 11-9), Sarah Kurth (6-3, 6-4) and Ashley Pummill (6-2, 6-4) gave East Peoria a majority in singles.
Kurth and Kylie Giebelhausen won the only completed doubles bout, 6-2, 3-6, 10-7, from the No. 3 position.
The Raiders were ahead in the other two matches, but both were competitive.
East Peoria achieved its best Mid-Illini finish since the 1999 season.
The Raiders were a solid third with 16 points Saturday at the conference tournament Limestone hosted at Dunlap.
Combined with a 3-3 dual record, the Raiders had 10.5 points for the league season.
The girls surpassed Metamora, which was 4-2, but fell to fourth after a 12-point tournament performance.
"I felt really good for them," EPCHS head coach Shane Smith said. "I told the girls, 'If you play your best tennis, good things are going to happen this year.'"
Seniors Montgomery and Smith won the No. 1 doubles title, 6-3, 6-2, over a Dunlap tandem.
"My girls kept their focus and went in there and won the championship in straight sets," said Smith.
That same Eagle duo upset the top-seeded Morton entrant in the semifinals.
Giebelhausen delivered a key result for East Peoria. Seeded sixth in No. 2 singles, she placed fourth.
The junior upended Pekin's No. 2 singles player, who was seeded third, in the quarterfinals. Giebelhausen was No. 6 in the Raiders' singles line-up during the season.
"That was a big win for her," said Smith of Giebelhausen's victory over a Dragon. "She played really good tennis."
Kurth, a junior, also landed fourth-place distinction, in the top singles bracket.
A triumph over a Metamora player who typically was high in the Redbird singles rankings was pivotal.
"That was a key win," Smith said. "We had to get some of those matches if we were going to beat Metamora."
Edgington and Pummill, both seniors, also took fourth place for East Peoria, in No. 2 doubles.
The Raiders advanced from fifth place in 2011.
Every year since '00, East Peoria finished either fifth or sixth in the M-I.
Besides the conference success, the Raiders also won titles on back-to-back Saturdays in the Peoria and Kewanee invitationals.
"It shows they have progressed and matured as tennis players from last year," said Smith.
Postseason: East Peoria is in the nine-team Dunlap Sectional this weekend.
Action begins at noon Friday and continues Saturday morning.
"I think we could send more people to state this year," said Smith. "It's critical at this time to make sure we're playing consistent tennis."
The top-four finishers in singles and doubles will advance to the state final, which runs Oct. 18-20 in the Chicago suburbs.