By John Bombatch
XENIA — It may have been Senior Night for the Xenia Buccaneers girls high school tennis team, but visiting Fairborn’s senior-laden squad made it their own.
The Skyhawks claimed a 4-1 team win on the Greene County Fairgrounds’ partial grass courts to keep their hopes of a Greater Western Ohio Conference American South Division title alive.
With the win, Fairborn (9-10 overall) climbs into a tie with Riverside Stebbins for the American South division, with a 4-5 record. The Skyhawks had defeated Stebbins 3-2 earlier this season.
Xenia is now 7-7 overall, 3-6 in the GWOC American South.
“If we can beat West Carrollton on Tuesday night (Sept. 27 at Fairborn Community Park), we would win the division, and that’s been one of our goals since the season started,” Skyhawks coach Doug Coy said. “I’m proud of everybody tonight.”
Fairborn senior Brooklyn Hunter defeated Xenia senior Aly Landis, 6-3, 6-0, at first singles.
In the longest tiebreaker of the match, Fairborn senior Acadia Wulf fought through a 13-11 first-set tiebreaker to win 7-6, 6-1 over Xenia senior Savannah Puckett at second singles.
And in a third singles battle, Xenia senior Peyton McLain claimed a 6-1, 6-2 straight-set win over the Skyhawks’ Kyla Secrest.
The Skyhawks’ senior first-doubles tandem of Shayne Osborne and Preslee Chapman garnered a 6-1, 6-1 win over Xenia’s Grace and Alexis McClelland. Grace is a junior; Alexis a sophomore.
And in the closest battle of the evening, Fairborn’s Megan Koonce-Dakota Thacker senior duo needed two tiebreakers to claim a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (2) win over Xenia’s senior pair of Kaili Deck and Jodi Collier.
The Buccaneers had won four of their last five matches, with the two most recent contests being 5-0 shutout wins.
After starting out the season 0-4, Fairborn has gone 9-6 since then. They’ve now won five of their last six matches.
“We weren’t too happy with the way we got our season under way like we did,” Coy said, “But we’ve really come on strong lately, and we’re finally playing tennis the way we thought we could. If we can win at Waynesville on Monday, then defeat West Carrollton on Tuesday and Dayton Stivers, Wednesday at home, we could reach another one of our team goals and end up with a record above the .500 mark.”
Fairborn finished at 12-9 in 2014. They were 10-10 last season.
Xenia coach Shirlena Landis said she was proud of her team’s effort, despite the loss.
“I think the girls just did their very best. They wanted to win this, but it just didn’t happen tonight. I thought they all played very hard,” Landis said. “This was definitely a match we wanted to win. … It’s a heart breaker.”
Xenia is roughly one point away from claiming a division win over Stebbins, but that weather-delayed match will be finished on Wednesday. At second singles, Puckett was up 5-2 in the second set of her match with a Stebbins opponent when lightning ended play. She’ll pick up that game with a 40-0 lead on Wednesday.
Xenia had a 2-1 team lead, with Puckett’s match and a match at second doubles yet to be finished. Should Puckett get that final point, the Bucs record would be 8-7 overall, 4-6 in the division.
Xenia’s next match is at 4:30 p.m. Monday in Enon against Greenon High.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.