The Rhinelander High School girls' tennis team fell to the defending Great Northern Conference champions, Antigo on Thursday afternoon. The Robins grinded out a 4-3 win over the Hodags at the Elleson Tennis Courts in Antigo. The Robins used a pair of three-set victories to earn the dual win, including a final decisive set.
The deciding win came down to No. 3 singles when the sets were tied up 3-3. Avery Nicholson of Antigo was able to hold of Kenedy Van Zile and win in three sets to secure the match. Van Zile won the first set 7-6, but Nicholson came back to win back-to-back sets; 6-2, 6-4.
Rhinelander's other three-setter they fell in was at No. 2 doubles. Alex Pyrchalla and Madi Losch started the first set strong against Sam Belling and Jenna Lenzner and held a 5-2 advantage before they fell in five straight games to fall 7-5. Belling/Lenzner pushed back in the second set to win 6-4 and force a third-set. Antigo quickly raced out to a 4-1 lead and Losch/Pyrchalla could not recover and fell 6-2.
The Hodags earned two wins in singles action, both in straight sets. At No. 2 singles Emma Roberts cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Antigo's Ellie Kelly. And Kaylee Pontell at No. 4 singles also earned a 6-2, 6-2 win against Margo Kelly.
The only victory Rhinelander scored in doubles action on the evening was at No. 3 doubles. The Hodag team of Savannah Chartier and Jackie Wells earned a 6-3 win in the first set over Gretta Parsons and Julia Westen. In the second set Wells/Chartier forced a tiebreaker after breaking Antigo's serve and after being down 1-4 rallied back to win the match 7-6(7).
Antigo's top doubles of senior Taylor Arrowood and Abby Robrecht would earn a straight set win (6-3, 6-1) over Rhinelander senior Haley Seefeldt and freshman Annika Johnson. Hodags' top singles player, Alex Oestreich also fell in straight sets (6-4, 6-0) to Maya Gaedtke.
The Robins now have a four-point lead in the conference over Rhinelander and both teams have three remaining GNC duals before the conference tournament. The Hodags are looking to regain the title after earning seven straight titles before Antigo broke their streak last season.
The Hodags will face Marshfield Columbus this evening at the RHS Tennis courts in a rescheduled dual and will host Pacelli Tuesday. Then next Thursday RHS will travel to Minocqua to take on Lakeland. Antigo's final matches will be against Medford, Lakeland, and Wausau Newman. The GNC tournament will be held on Saturday September 22nd at Lakeland.