LINDSBORG — The Abilene Cowgirl tennis team battled the competition at the always-tough Smoky Valley Invitation to bring home a strong third place finish.

The number one doubles team of Kiley Coup and Shiann Olberding led the Cowgirls to the third place team finish. The Abilene pair went undefeated during the day to earn first place.

“The Cowgirls had a great showing Thursday at Smoky Valley,” Abilene head coach Megan Berry said.

Coup/Olberding defeated Morgan/Mosher of Chapman 8-0 in the opening round and then took down Ellsworth’s Cunningham/Talbott by the same 8-0 score. In their third match, the Cowgirls defeated the second team from Ellsworth 8-1 before facing a tough state tested pair from Hesston.

Coup/Olberding won the championship with an 8-4 mark over the Martin sisters of Hesston.

“Kylie and Shiann had a great day only losing five games throughout all of their matches,” Berry said. “Hesston is a quality doubles team and to beat them in the championship was a great end to the tournament.”

Senior Zoe Cooper was rolling through her first two matches before running into two state medalists as number one singles. Cooper defeated Potter of Central Plains 8-2 and then won 8-1 over Vinduska of Trinity Catholic.

In her third match, Cooper met up Emily Ryan, a state medalist from Central Plains. Ryan won the match 8-0. Cooper then battled Kira Haxton of Smoky Valley 2-8 to finish fourth in a tough combined singles bracket.

“Despite her two losses, Zoe really showed she belonged as the quality of points played were very high,” coach Berry said.

Sophomore Bella Sims went 2-2 and finished 10th in singles. Sims fell 1-8 to Haxton of Smoky Valley. She bounced back with a 7-6 (4) win over Haase of Ellsworth. In the third round, Sims defeated Enslinger of Trinity Catholic 6-3 before dropping her final match 5-7 to Potter of Central Plains.

“Bella continues to improve each and every match,” Berry said. “To place in the top 10 in a combined singles field is proof of her continued growth.”

An injury forced the Cowgirls to shuffle their number two doubles partners. Senior Brinna Riffel paired with sophomore Maggie Gillispie to finish 2-2 in the doubles bracket.

The Abilene duo, playing for the first time together, lost their opening match 4-8 to Yenni/Elliott of Smoky Valley. The second round saw Riffel/Gillispie defeat Gunder/Hass of Central Plains 6-0. They then battled Roth/Megan Martin of Hesston to an 8-4 win. In their final match, the Abilene pair fell to Graham/Diaz of Trinity Catholic 2-8.

“It is tough adapting to a new doubles partner but they fought through it and played quite well at times,” Berry said. “I’m really pleased with how we competed as a team.”

The Cowgirl varsity travels to Clay Center on Saturday Sept. 15.

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