The top two Girls Varsity Tennis teams in the OK Red Conference met for the first time this season, and it was a hard fought battle right to the end. Rockford and West Ottawa, both undefeated in conference play, hit the courts determined to come out on top.
The lady Rams lost 5-3 to the West Ottawa Panthers. Rockford came out with wins by #1 Doubles team Abby Ducharme and Emily Ramsay, and #2 Singles player Delaney Reibschleger.
But the marquee match between the #1 Singles players was one for the record books. Rockford’s Alayna Bowman has played under pressure before. She advanced to the State Tournament Championship match last June as the #4 Singles player. That experience showed as she faced her opponent on the road, in front of a very vocal West Ottawa crowd. She won the first set 6-4, and then dropped the second set to force a third-set tiebreaker. With the other matches wrapped up, all eyes were on center court- and on the sky as the clouds increased. The threat of severe weather moved in.
One point Rockford, one point West Ottawa. The game continued as a few raindrops interrupted the player’s focus. After a sudden flash of lightning, the match was suspended. Both teams and parents gathered under an awning while the coaches conferred.
A decision was made to move the match indoors. Players and fans rushed to their cars and headed to MVP in Holland where the third set would be played. But the drama of the evening continued, when the third set ended in a tie, forcing a 7-point tiebreaker.
In the end, after 4 hours of play, Bowman came away with the victory: 7-6 (9-7) in the final set!
Rockford now stands at 4-1 in the OK Red, with the Conference Tournament scheduled for Saturday, April 12.