• Val T.

All-RTC girls tennis: Costello, Neese share player of year

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

The high school girls tennis season was wrecked by bad weather.

Let’s rephrase: The high school girls tennis season was wrecked AGAIN by bad weather.

After a year off due to the pandemic, there seemingly was concern over whether there would be interest in the sport, but both area teams had well-stocked JV squads considering.

We had a lot of competitive matches among area teams, but the stronger teams seemed to reside south and west of our area.

The area players of the year are Mackenzie Costello and Kaitlin Neese, the No. 1 doubles team from Tippecanoe Valley.

Here is the first ever All-RTC girls tennis team in full.

This is based off results and observations, with an emphasis placed on postseason results.

We take full responsibility for this list.

First team

Singles

  • Hannah Houston (Rochester) – Houston moved up to No. 1 singles for her senior year and showed strength from the forehand side and a good serve.

  • Hannah Engstrand (Tippecanoe Valley) – Engstrand went 11-5 on the season and showed her competitiveness when she dropped a 6-1 first set to a player from Columbia City at the sectional before coming back to win. You don’t often see that in high school tennis.

  • Ryli Rouch (Rochester) – Rouch moved from doubles to singles midseason and showed consistency with her groundstrokes.

Doubles

  • Mackenzie Costello-Kaitlin Neese (Tippecanoe Valley) – Costello and Neese, both seniors, went 12-5, they had a seven-match winning streak at one point during the season, and they earned their way out of sectionals and into the individual doubles tournament. Valley has had a history of good doubles teams since Andrew Luce has been coach, and this group follows in that tradition.

  • Molly Conley-Kylie Houston (Rochester) – Already teammates in volleyball, they showed good chemistry when paired together in tennis as well.

Honorable mention

Singles

  • Hannah Parson (Tippecanoe Valley) – Parson ran into a difficult opponent most every time she stepped onto the court and played competitively.

Doubles

  • Lilli Eaton-Carli Richard (Rochester) – Eaton, a freshman, looked comfortable after she moved down from No. 1 doubles to No. 2 doubles to partner with Richard, a senior who looked comfortable in her role all year.

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