ISHPEMING - Beating host Ishpeming Monday was no easy task for the Munising High School girls tennis team.
Coach Rod Gendron's Mustangs won a couple of marathon matches and overcame three doubles victories by the Hematites to take a 5-3 dual meet decision.
"It was a hard-fought match," he said after his team had improved to 2-8 this season. "We had three matches go three sets and we won two of them. That enables you to win as a team."
Munising’s Jenna Hach volleys back to Ishpeming’s Gabby Croley during No. 1 singles play in Ishpeming on Monday. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
Of the three matches that went three sets, Jenna Hach at No. 1 singles and Emily DesJardins at No. 3 outlasted opponents in play that went nearly 2 1/2 hours each.
Hach beat Gabby Croley, 6-7 (8-10), 6-2, 6-2, while DesJardins turned back Jaime Olson 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-5.
"Those were very long matches," Gendron said. "A lot of those can go either way. It's just a matter of focusing at the right time.
"Gabby plays a unique style where the faster you hit the ball, she blocks the shot for points. Once Jenna figured out how to hit the ball, she cruised."
His daughter, Eve Gendron, also picked up a singles win, beating Melanee Bess 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2.
"Eve played awesome," the coach said. "She had her game going and is really coming around."
Eve said despite Bess hitting a serve low to the net, she stayed focused.
"I just stayed on my toes and kept positive," she said, "even if I hit a bad shot.
"I worked the angles and approached the net well. I had some good serves, too."
Ishpeming dominated doubles play, with Taylor Croley and Jordann Grigg rallying for a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 triumph over Sheena Sowa and Megan McLaren at No. 1.
"It was a very intense and exciting match," Croley said. "We were down 5-2 in the third set, but hard work and good shots carried us.
Grigg said the duo was its own worst enemy in the second set.
"We made a lot of errors we didn't need to make. Just stupid mistakes," she said. "But we kept each other pumped up and (eventually) had good placement on the ball where (Sowa and McLaren) couldn't get to it."
Ishpeming coach Erl Langness, whose squad is now 1-8 on the season, was glad to see Croley and Grigg pull out the win.
"That (third set) was a big swing," he said. "That's a confidence-booster to come back like that."
Zoe Beltrame and Mollie Pruett also posted a doubles win for Ishpeming - taking No. 3 - while teammates Libbie Doney and Hailly Thompson prevailed at No. 4.
"Their girls hit well, but we returned it back," Thompson said after the 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Carla Nottmeier and Ariana Martineau.
Added Doney: "We took control in the second set. We had more fun and relaxed more."
Langness said "for the most part," he was happy with Ishpeming's play against the Mustangs.
"We still make some mistakes, though," he said, "like not following through on strokes and hitting balls into the net."
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.