Raiders seize victory over Barr-Reeve

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Southridge senior Abby Kerkhoff prepares to hit a forehand shot during Wednesday evening’s Three Singles match against Barr-Reeve in Montgomery. The Raiders earned a 3-2 win over the Vikings.


MONTGOMERY — Harrowing clouds loomed over Wednesday evening’s tennis match between Southridge (9-5) and Barr-Reeve. The threat of inclement weather cast a dark shadow over the contest, but the Raiders finished the job just before the rain arrived.

Southridge’s 3-2 triumph over Barr-Reeve typified the team’s season of close matches, but the Raiders made some critical adjustments on Wednesday.

“Traditionally, we start slow,” Southridge head coach Paul Kinker said. “All I told them today was, ‘A little quicker start. Not necessarily quicker play, but a quicker start. Make all the points count.’ We had a pretty short warmup, but we were able to adapt in at least three of the matches.”

Southridge junior Olivia Durcholz supplied a key victory at the One Singles spot. Durcholz defeated Barr-Reeve junior Averi Lengacher in a tight 6-3, 6-4 match. Kinker said the match could have gone either way and praised Durcholz’s ability to step up.

The Vikings got a point back after Raiders junior Olivia Lopez fell to Vikings junior Alexis Buse in a 6-3, 6-2 Two Singles match. Southridge senior Abby Kerkhoff captured a convincing 6-0, 6-1 Three Singles win over Barr-Reeve junior Sydni Smith. Kerkhoff’s victory provided a much-needed boost for the Raiders.

“She’s not traditionally a singles player,” Kinker said. “For her to step into Three Singles, it’s a good fit for her. She’s consistent. She’s getting her groundstrokes down now, rather than just popping the ball over. She keeps it in play, and that is critical for Three Singles.”

The squads split the doubles matches. Southridge juniors Jordan Biehl and Kelby LaRoche lost a 6-0, 6-3 One Doubles affair to Barr-Reeve sophomores Dylan Decoursey and Sydney Swartzentruber. The Raiders’ Two Doubles tandem of senior Gabbie Werner and junior Emily Roby stayed undefeated with a crucial 6-1, 6-0 win over Barr-Reeve freshman Lexi Johnson and junior Kaitlyn Wood.

“Today, they started quick,” Kinker said about the Raiders’ Two Doubles duo. “I don’t know if that had anything to do with the rain, but I think they wanted to shorten it because it was very humid out there today. They were sweating pretty good. They’re smart. They can figure out what to do, where to hit it and how to strategize. That’s the key to their success.”

Humidity, rain and stiff competition — the Raiders overcame several obstacles to earn the hard-fought victory in enemy territory. Moments before he boarded Southridge’s team bus, Kinker expressed his gratitude for the team’s propensity to persevere through an unprecedented campaign.

“We’ve been in every match,” he said. “That’s all I can ask. They’re competitive and playing. This season, that’s all I care about.”

Southridge returns to action tonight at Pocket Athletic Conference foe Tell City.

“We’re still on the plus side on the conference matches,” Kinker said. “Here again, Tell City is going to be just like Boonville and South Spencer. It’s going to be a very close match. Their singles are pretty good. It’s going to be another close one.”

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