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EDWARDSVILLE – The younger players on Edwardsville High’s girls tennis team picked up more valuable varsity experience as the Tigers defeated Mascoutah 9-0 in a dual meet played Thursday afternoon and evening at the Edwardsville Tennis Center.

The Tigers got the win over a traditionally strong Indian program, but most importantly, the younger players gained more experience playing at in a varsity-level match.

“Mascoutah always has a solid program, all long and good tennis history,” said Edwardsville assistant coach Kirk Schlueter, “so it’s a good match for our players, especially for some of our younger players, some of our JV players, to get a match against really solid competition, and against varsity tennis players who want to win just as badly as they do. So I’m glad we had that chance to have that competition, and the question is, can we rise to that level?”

Schlueter singled out a couple of his players in Izzy Sitki and Abby Liu, the number three doubles team on the day, for praise.

“Standing out right now, I think Izzy Sitki and Abby Liu,” Schlueter said. “Our number three doubles team have been awesome for this group all year. They went undefeated in the Heather Bradshaw Tournament a few weeks ago, and they again played excellently today. So, really, really look into them. They set a great standard, great example of what excellent play looks like every time they’re out on the court.”

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At the time the interview with Schlueter was conducted, the doubles matches were in progress, with the singles still to be played.

“Singles will be tough,” Schlueter said. “I think that we play a lot of singles, we draw a lot of singles, we give the girls a chance to play a lot of singles. And so, I’m confident that we’ll come out and perform well, and we’ll fight to the best of our ability. And then, whatever the result is, that’s what it is. But I think that we’ve done a good job all year on this team of controlling things that we can control, and I expect us to do the same today.”

The doubles matches got the Tigers off to a great start, as Gabby Regaldo and Eileen Pan won over Ella Mostouler and Amelia Aerdiman 8-5, while Mia Heiser and Jessa Earnhart defeated Rachel Eddy and Abby Spitler 8-5, and Liu and Sitki won over Callie Adkins and Della Merchant 8-1 to stake the Tigers to a 3-0 lead.

In the singles matches, Regaldo led the Tigers off with a 7-6, 6-4 win over Mostouler, Pan won over Aerdiman 7-6, 6-2, Liu defeated Eddy 6-2, 6-2, it was Sitki winning over Alexis Nieves 6-0, 6-0, Heiser defeated Adkins 6-0, 6-0, and Earnhart completed the sweep with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Merchant.

The Tigers will host their annual Southern Illinois Duals tournament this coming weekend, with the team’s annual Senior Night ceremonies to be held prior to their meet against Quincy on Friday evening. Schlueter is looking forward to the ceremonies as well as the meet against the Blue Devils.

“Yeah, it’s an exciting weekend,” Schlueter said. “We have Senior Night tomorrow against Quincy. Quincy, again, always a great program, always has great players, and it’ll be a great showcase for our senior who have been a part of this program for so long. And then, more tennis on Saturday. It’s exciting every time you’re getting close to the end of the year. There’s October baseball, and also, we’re pretty close to October tennis, which has its own special feel to it, so it’s definitely exciting.”

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