Nebraska City tennis took to the courts at the Woods Tennis Center in Lincoln on Thursday to wrap up the 2017 season and the Pioneers put up a good effort on the final day of the campaign.
Scoring a win at No. 2 singles was Brittany Giles who won dominantly in straight sets over a competitor from Alliance, 6-1 and 6-0. She followed that up by battling the No. 2 seed in her bracket, a player from Grand Island Central Catholic.
Scores had the match going to GICC 6-2 and 6-2, but the final doesn’t indicate the competitive level displayed by Giles.
Coach Scott Wissing said Giles kept points alive and pressed the action against a very quality opponent.
“The match went back and forth every single point,” said Wissing.
That was a fitting way for the season to end for Giles, who had the top finish for the Pioneers at the Eastern Midlands Conference tournament. She lost the first match at EMC, but battled back through the consolation bracket to pick up a fifth place medal.
Returning to the state event and moving to No. 2 doubles, Nebraska City got a great three-set effort from Aubrey Thurman and Allison Baker. After losing the first set 6-4, the Pioneer duo came back for a 6-4 set win against Gering before the Bulldogs got the match-deciding set at 6-3.
“It was a really good match and I thought it was a really good match up,” Wissing said of the competitive level of the match and the skill level of the players.
At No. 1 doubles, the Pioneers’ team of Brenna Turner and Aliyah Nye lost by scores of 6-1 and 6-0, but Coach Wissing said the draw for Nebraska City was fairly brutal with opposition supplied by Grand Island Central Catholic.
At No. 1 singles, the Pioneers had a switch up of the roster. Madison Borns came into play No. 1 due to a late season departure from the roster. Borns hadn’t played varsity, but stepped in at No. 1 singles and showed her skills against a seeded player from Hastings. The scores had Hastings winning 7-5 and 6-0 but Pioneer fans in attendance may have gotten a pretty good look at the future.
“Madi is going to be an extremely good tennis player,” said Wissing, adding that her playing in the state tournament was a great experience.
Looking at the overall season, Coach Wissing said the Pioneers didn’t get the desired finish. They would have preferred a few more wins at state. But the team had some success. In addition to state success, the team got dual wins and two medals at EMC, one from Giles and one from the doubles team of Turner and Nye.
And the team can say they matched up against tough teams all year. The schedule for Nebraska City is noteworthy for difficulty level in tennis.
Following the conclusion of the matches at state, Wissing said good bye to the team. He’ll be leaving to take a job in Gretna this fall.
It’s the second straight season he’s had to give that talk after having bid farewell to the boys’ basketball program earlier this year.
In giving his final talks to both groups, Wissing said he was hopeful that what the players learned under his guidance will be lessons that serve them well long after he leaves the school.
Wissing said skill is important, but his message has gone beyond sports.
“I want them to be good people more than anything. Do the right thing. Keep your head down and work hard,” Wissing said.
As for who might be the next coach to lead the tennis program, Wissing said on Thursday that nothing is known right now, but he did throw assistant coach Victoria Ward’s name up for consideration. Wissing said that Ward, a former Pioneer, figures to be the logical selection.