By Josh Brown
WEST MILTON — Early in a new season, experience can make all the difference.
That was the case for the Troy tennis team Monday, as the veteran Trojans opened the season with a convincing 5-0 victory against a very young Bulldogs squad at Milton-Union High School.
While all three of the Trojans’ singles players — including two-time sectional doubles champions in Hannah Essick and Maggie Hennessy — as well as half of the first doubles team are all returners, the Bulldogs graduated six players last year and only bring back two with any varsity experience. And with the threat of rain scattered around the area, the match got underway quickly, as well.
“We didn’t warm up very much, just started the matches,” Troy coach Mark Goldner said. “We were glad to get the match in. It was good for our doubles teams to get a little experience.
“Milton-Union is starting over this year which, been there, done that ourselves. They’ll be back, that’s for sure. They’ll just have to go through some growing pains.”
“Yes, it definitely was,” first-year Milton-Union coach Diana Finfrock said when asked if experience was key. “We just a really young team. For five of these girls, it was their first varsity match. We’re learning, but we’ve got a ways to go. I was proud of them, though. No one gave up, and that’s half the battle.”
The Bulldogs’ experience found itself matched up against Troy’s strengths, too. At first singles, Milton’s Ashley Wombold — moving up from third singles last year — faced off against Troy’s Essick, and Essick was able to outplay Wombold in a clean match, 6-2, 6-0.
“Ashley played really well,” Finfrock said. “The points were long, she just ended up on the wrong side of most of them. But Troy’s No. 1 is a really good player. I was hoping Ashley would play well against her, and she did.”
“Hannah’s played in a few more USTA tournaments, and she knows how to handle herself,” Goldner said. “The girls she played was a third last year going up to one, and that’s tough. But they both played well.”
Troy’s other two junior singles players, Hennessy and Ashley Bruns, took on a pair of Milton sophomores in Abby Hissong and Kaitlyn Antonides. At second singles, Hennessy defeated Hissong 6-3, 6-1, and at third singles, Bruns defeated Antonides 6-0, 6-0.
At first doubles, Troy seniors Zoey Scancarello and Sierra Verstraten defeated Milton-Union’s Anna Brown — a senior and the only other returner on the team from last year — and sophomore Caitlin Bushelman 6-3, 6-0. At second doubles, Troy’s Meredith Pruitt and Katie Sherrick defeated Lauren Claggett and Rachel Rock 6-0, 6-0.
And on Tuesday, the Trojans had another solid match and improved to 2-0 with a 5-0 victory over Fairmont.
At first singles, Essick defeated Hannah Jones 6-0, 6-0. At second singles, Hennessy rallied from dropping the first set to cruise through the next two in a 1-6, 6-2, 6-0 victory over Sam Turner. At third singles, Ashley Bruns won two competitive sets against Katie Welt, 6-4, 6-3.
At first doubles, Scancarello and Verstraten defeated Matti Cridge and Lena Schlemar 6-2, 6-3. And at second doubles, Pruitt and Sherrick defeated Ally Hejje and Alex Rubenstein 6-3, 6-2.
The Bulldogs, on the other hand, picked up their first victory under their new coach on Tuesday, defeating Tecumseh on the road 4-1 to improve to 1-1 on the young season.
Today, Troy hosts Northridge, while Milton-Union travels to Kenton Ridge today.
Tipp 5, Eaton 0
EATON — The Tippecanoe Red Devils began the new season on a positive note Tuesday, sweeping Eaton on the road, 5-0.
At first singles, Kennedy Reeder defeated Tess Flynn 6-3, 6-1. At second singles, Ladia Coning defeated Rebecca Wolf 6-1, 6-0. At third singles, Sophia McDowell defeated Maria Keen 6-1, 6-1.
At first doubles, Ali Merrick and Victoria Nordquist defeated Kyra Houle and Honoka Sato 6-3, 6-1. At second doubles, Sydney Laymon and Jordan Jones defeated Mariah Brewer and Barbara Ann Grant 6-1, 6-2.
Tippecanoe travels to Bellbrook Thursday before hosting Lehman Friday.
MV 5, Lehman 0
SIDNEY — Lehman fell to 0-2 on the young season with a 5-0 loss at the hands of Miami Valley Monday.
At first singles, Diana Gibson lost 6-0, 6-0. At second singles, Sara Gibson lost 6-0, 6-0. At third singles, Alex Read lost 6-0, 6-0. At first doubles, Emma Simpson and Melanie Brunner lost 6-0, 6-0. At second doubles, Allison Briggs and Ann Pennaparra lost 6-0, 6-0.
* Boys Golf
MIAMISBURG — Troy Moore shot another quality round for the Troy boys golf team Tuesday, leading the Trojans to a fourth-place finish at the Miamisburg Invitational at Pipestone — and helping them gain confidence against their biggest division rival.
Moore shot the third-best score on the day with a 1-under 71 as the Trojans shot 317 as a team, tied with Centerville “black” for third but taking fourth on the fifth-score tiebreaker. Freshman Holden Scribner followed with an impressive 76, Nate Uhlenbrock shot 83, Tyler Lambert shot 87, Ryan McClurg shot 89 and Keaton Pfeiffer shot 92.
“We’re struggling getting that fourth score down,” Troy coach Mark Evilsizor said. “Hopefully, as the guys get a little more comfortable at the varsity level, we can get that fourth score down.
“Troy Moore is playing at a very high level right now, and Holden, for a freshman, is playing extremely well. We’re getting good scores. We just can’t get to that next level.”
Eaton won with a 310 — the score Troy won the tournament with last year — and Wayne was runner-up with 313. Troy’s main competition in the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division, Butler, shot a 320. Last week at the GWOC preseason tournament, Butler beat Troy 317-322.
“I was pleased today overall,” Evilsizor said. “A 310 was what we were shooting for, and we’re getting closer.”
Troy travels to the Greenville Invitational Thursday.
* Girls Golf
Troy 200, Beavercreek 225
BEAVERCREEK — The Troy girls golf team played a tough course Tuesday on the road at Beavercreek, but the Trojans were able to overcome and grab a 200-225 victory over the Beavers.
Natalie Henson and Ali Helman both shot 47 to lead Troy, LeeAnn Black shot 51, Hannah Wright shot 55, Mackenzie Pruitt shot 56 and Melanie Henson shot 57.
“We played okay,” Troy coach Matt Wibbeler said. “The course is pretty tough. It’s long, there’s hazards on both sides — and the most common complaint was that the greens were really fast. The girls aren’t used to the greens being so fast so early in the season. They were missing putts they’d never miss, and missing by just inches.”
Troy (1-0) will compete in the Versailles Invitational Thursday.
ME 199, FM 267
GREENVILLE — The Miami East girls golf team started off the season with a solid win Tuesday, defeating Franklin Monroe 199-267 at Turtle Creek Golf Course.
Kiera Fellers and Megan Pettit each shot 47 to lead the Vikings, Megan Thompson shot 52, Maggie Bergman shot 53, Haley Howard shot 54 and Emily Rowley shot 60.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.