MASON — Unfortunately, the third time was not the charm on Friday — and Wheelersburg’s bid to win a girls state tennis tournament match fell short.
That’s because the Lady Pirate pair of senior Kaitlyn Sommer and junior Maddie Gill, in their third and final attempt together in the Division II doubles bracket, lost to the Lima Bath junior tandem of Ruby and Esther Bolon.
Sommer and Gill, competing in their third state tournament together after three consecutive seasons as Southeast-East District finalists, were among the 16 Division II doubles teams participating — under sunny skies and at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Their goal was to finally win a first-round match, but instead they were swept 6-0 and 6-0 by the Bolons.
The match marked the final of her high school career for the senior Sommer, as the state tournament is indeed a single-elimination event.
Like last season, Sommer and Gill qualified for the state tournament — by successfully defending their Southeast-East District doubles championship.
Two years ago, they were the district runners-up.
But by claiming the district title, they clinched the top seed from the Southeast-East District — and theoretically earned a better draw in the opening round.
However, as has been proven the case, there are no easy matches at the coveted state meet.
The Bolons were the third-seeded squad from the Northwest District, as the top four teams qualified from the Northwest.
For their first trip, Sommer and Gill played the top-seeded duo from the Northeast District — and lost 6-1 and 6-0 to the Shaker Heights Laurel ladies.
Last season, they lost their round-of-16 affair to Richfield Revere, 7-5 and 6-0.
“It was disappointing they didn’t meet their goal of winning a first-round match, but at least they’ve had a great run,” said Wheelersburg girls tennis coach Jodi Wright. “To be three-time state qualifiers from a small town like Wheelersburg is something to be exceptionally proud of.”
The Southeast-East District doubles runners-up — the Athens Bulldogs’ duo of senior Ami Branann and sophomore Anna Chen — lost their first-round bout as well.
Brannan and Chen were swept by the Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown twosome 6-4 and 6-0.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved