By John Bombatch
XENIA — The sun was beginning to set on the partial grass tennis courts of the Greene County Fairgrounds, but that didn’t stop Xenia’s Peyton McLain and Greenon’s Shelby McHenry from putting on more than a three-hour show at third singles.
The two girls had one rally midway through the deciding third set that went on for more than 40 hits before McLain chipped a backhander into the net. The marathon set involved eight other points where the two knocked the felt off the tennis ball a dozen or more times before a point could be determined.
“We may be here a while,” Greenon coach Harold Fitch chuckled as he watched the match from the sidelines.
When McHenry finally clinched the match with a 6-0, 6-7, 6-2 win over McLain, Greenon clinched a 3-2 team win over the Buccaneers.
The Knights (9-4 overall and 5-3 in the Central Buckeye Conference) earned a solid win at first singles by senior Arian McNeil. While Xenia’s Aly Landis was adept in getting most everything back that McNeil would wallop her way, McNeil was good at capitalizing on every short ball Landis would chip over the net. McNeil was named Player of the Week by the regional sports website JJHuddle.com last week. Her overall record now stands at 14-0 this season.
It was announced on Wednesday that Landis will play her collegiate tennis at Mount Vernon Nazarene University next season.
Xenia’s Savannah Puckett won at second singles over Greenon’s Courtney Brinkman in another lengthy battle between two relatively similar opponents. Puckett earned a 6-4, 6-3 win.
The Buccaneer sister duo of Grace and Alexis McClelland claimed a 6-2, 6-0 straight-set win over Greenon’s Kendra Gochenour and Madie Reed at first doubles.
The Knights’ Autumn Cox and Jasmine Estorline earned a tough 7-6, 7-5 win over Xenia’s Kaili Deck and Jodi Collier in another marathon battle.
“I think both teams were pretty equally matched tonight, Greenon just got the better of us,” Xenia coach Shirlena Landis said afterward. “There’s seven seniors playing for this team, but they haven’t all been here throughout their high school careers. Aly (Landis) has been around all four years, my second and third singles players (Puckett and McLain) have been around for three years, as well as one of my doubles players. So we think we can give the other teams in our division a battle. We believe we have a shot at winning the GWOC American South.”
Currently, Xenia trails South-leader Fairborn by one game, runner up Riverside Stebbins by a half a game and they’re tied with Trotwood-Madison.
Both teams are back in action today. Greenon heads north to take on Urbana in a Central Buckeye Conference battle, while Xenia stays home to take on Trotwood-Madison in Greater Western Ohio Conference, American South Division play.
Reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.