Girls’ tennis team falls 6-1

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 9, 2002

AUSTIN &045; Austin is the defending champion in Big Nine girls’ tennis, and Albert Lea coach Sean Gillam has all the respect in the world for the Packers.

But he feels his Tigers deserve a little more.

Gillam felt the home team showed an obvious lack of respect as the Tigers lost 6-1 at Austin Saturday, but he also believes the Tigers sent a message that they are improving.

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&uot;Austin obviously thought they were a lot better than we were,&uot; said Gillam. &uot;They’re the champs. We have to work to earn respect, and that’s what we’re trying to do. But I would like to see them again.&uot;

The Tigers’ win was at No. 4 singles, where eighth-grader Elizabeth Thompson rallied to win a three-set marathon 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. She led 3-1 in the first set and trailed 5-0 in the second.

&uot;Elizabeth is great,&uot; said Gillam. &uot;She works so hard. What a great example of never giving up.&uot;

Junior Karen Leonard almost knocked off a senior at No. 2 singles, where she fell 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

In the other singles matches, Becky Birkhofer lost 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 while Elizabeth Schreiber was defeated 6-1, 6-4 at No. 3.

Juniors Ashley Helgerson and Nicole Rafdal played well at No. 1 doubles but lost 6-4, 6-3 to a pair of tall seniors. Amanda Rose and Kristin Wolff fell 6-3, 6-2 at No. 2 doubles while Nicole Merfeld and Alison Sabinish lost 6-1, 6-2 at No. 3.

Albert Lea’s junior varsity continued to play well, picking up another victory.

The Tigers on the court today, taking on Faribault at 4:30 at Southwest Middle School.