ALTON - Alton, Roxana and Collinsville all went 1-1 in their dual matches against each other to all finish in a three-way tie for the championship of the Andy Simpson Invitational tennis tournament, which was played on Saturday at the Alton High School tennis courts.

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The Redbirds defeated the Kahoks 3-2, getting wins from both Lydia Criveu and Ainsley Fortschneider to gain the win. It was Criveu winning over Collinsville's Lindsay Taylor, while Fortschneider won over Alyssa Garcia to give Alton the win. The other win came from doubles team Katie Castelli and Chloe Plough.

Against the Shells, the Redbirds got wins from Criveu in singles and a doubles win from Grace Carter and Amelia Redman, but Alton lost to Roxana 3-2. The Kahoks won over the Shells 3-2 in the other dual match to send all three teams to 1-1 on the day and the three-way split of the team championship.

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The Redbirds went with a fairly young lineup in the tournament, and everyone played well throughout the day.

"We played a young lineup today," said Alton head coach Jesse Macias. "But when we needed a win, both of our seniors played huge. They both lost the first set, but didn't put their heads down. They kept working and absolutely turned it up in the second and third set. As a team, everyone played well today, but Lydia and Ainsley showed real leadership and fortitude in their matches."

Macias praised the efforts of all of his players on the day, and was very happy with all the efforts of everyone involved with the tournament.

"There were a lot of big performances today," Macias said. "Redman and Carter have played great all year. Our number two team of Devora Newquist and Grace Goodman played well too. It was really fun to watch Castelli and Plough get their first varsity win, and in a big match. The sportsmanship by all the players, coaches and fans was superb, and I know that would make Andy Simpson proud. The fact we get to play a tennis tournament during a pandemic, I think we all feel fortunate today."

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