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Marion tennis team avenges loss to Benton

  • Nicole Szidik hits a return during Tuesday's match against Benton.

    Nicole Szidik hits a return during Tuesday's match against Benton.
    Justin Walker Photo

  • Ana Cuartas

    Ana Cuartas
    Justin Walker Photo

  • Paula Diederich

    Paula Diederich
    Justin Walker Photo

By Justin Walker
updated: 10/10/2018 2:59 AM

MARION -- The Marion High School girls tennis team finished the regular season Tuesday by avenging an earlier loss to Benton, this time winning 7-2 over the Rangerettes at the Crisp Sports Complex.
The Lady Wildcats took five of the six singles matches to leave no doubt and finish with a 9-8 match record.
"The girls got some revenge on Benton," said Marion coach Carrie Watson. "I'm overjoyed to finish the regular season with such a good win."
Ana Cuartas defeated Kinley Tonn at No. 1 by a 10-6 score, then Nicole Szidik and Margaux Bruce both won by identical 10-2 scores over freshman opponents.
Carrie Graham rolled to a 10-1 win over Jordan Eikelman and Sophia Arnold blanked Molly Goostree 10-0. Benton's point came from Macy Shelton, who outlasted Paula Diederich, 10-7, at No. 6.
Graham and Arnold were quick 10-3 winners over Goostree and Shelton at No. 3 doubles, but it took until nearly dark for Diederich and Bruce to pick up a 10-5 win at No. 2. And at No. 1, Cuartas and Szidik were in a 9-9 battle until darkness totally fell and a tiebreaker was needed that gave Benton the win.
"We had the match won after singles but didn't stop there," Watson said. "I believe we would have won the No. 1 doubles. Like always we play until there is complete darkness ... It was almost impossible to see the ball."
Marion competed in the South Seven Conference tournament over the weekend and weather caused it to roll over into Monday before everything was decided.
When all was said and done, Carbondale's Sophie DiBiasie was the No. 1 singles champion over Szidik with a 6-1, 7-5 tiebreak. The No. 2 singles was declared a draw involving Bruce from Marion and Althoff's Olivia Melichar. Graham took third at No. 3 singles and Arnold was third at No. 4.
Althoff was ultimately the champion, followed by Carbondale, Marion, Centralia and Mt. Vernon.
"Overall, I think we did pretty well," Watson said. "I had us figured as placing fourth. Then Mt. Vernon did not fill all the entries and we beat Centralia in some critical places to push us up to third. Besides getting soaked, it turned out well for the girls."
The tournament helps determine the all-conference team. Szidik was named first team, with Bruce and Cuartas on the second team and Arnold and Graham earning honorable mention.
Marion plays in the Herrin Sectional beginning Friday at 1 p.m.

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