116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - It started out a calm, sunny day at the Veterans Memorial Tennis Center on Tuesday afternoon.
Quickly, though, a line of storms moved in on the horizon, bringing with it gusts of wind and plenty of rain, forcing the Class 2A girls' state tennis quarterfinals into multiple rain delays and even a change of venue.
But Iowa City West wasn't deterred by the changes. The Women of Troy beat defending 2A champion Cedar Rapids Prairie 5-1 to earn a trip to the team state semifinal meet on June 3 in Ankeny.
'I can't even believe it really. I honestly didn't expect us to get this far,” West Coach Amie Villarini said. 'I knew we had the potential to, and there was the chance, but you just don't know until you get here. I'm just really proud of my team for pulling through some really tight matches. I'm learning, every match, more about my team. I think I know them, but they're proving themselves more than I could imagine.”
The two teams were forced into a brief 20 minute rain delay about halfway into the meet. A break in the rain allowed them to return to the court, but this time to much windier conditions. When the rain continued a short time later, meet officials decided to move the remainder of the competition indoors to the Westfield Tennis Center across town.
Both Villarini and Prairie Coach Scott Leggat were concerned about the multiple stoppages in play, and were just focused on keeping any momentum they could gain alive.
'There was a few momentum changes,” Leggat said. 'After the first rain delay, I thought it changed a little bit in our direction. Our girls started kind of picking up the pace a little bit and got a little momentum. After the second one, obviously it didn't turn out our way.”
West, however, pulled out five of the six singles matches - four of which went to the third deciding set - to top the Hawks.
'It was really nerve-racking,” said West's Abby Jans, who won her deciding set 10-7. 'I was stressed out the entire time because it was back and forth. But being able to pull through and finish it was amazing, and I had a lot of fun actually.”
Linn-Mar and Pleasant Valley were also at the Veterans Memorial Tennis Center site, and finished up their match before the rain hit. The Spartans cruised to a 5-0 win over the Lions, earning a trip to the semifinals and keeping their perfect record alive.
While the Lions didn't win, Coach Stacie Carpenter wasn't entirely disappointed. They were winning in the sixth match before it was called, and nearly upset Pleasant Valley in another - a significantly better outing than they had earlier in the year against the Spartans.
'We played them a lot better than we did at the beginning of the season,” Carpenter said. 'Back in April we played them, and today we did play a lot stronger.”
And while Pleasant Valley is likely the favorite heading into the final four, Villarini isn't putting any pressure on her team. She's just happy to have gotten the Women of Troy to this point.
'Honestly, I feel like it's all ‘cherries on top' after this,” Villarini said. 'I'm not going to put any pressure on the team, we're just happy to make it this far. Obviously we're going to try our best and compete, and who knows, maybe they'll shock me and we'll win this whole thing.”
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