GRANITE CITY – Before the Granite City Warriors and the Alton Redbirds squared off on Thursday in a Southwestern Conference match, Granite City coach Linda Ames gave out black and red ribbons to all of the players in honor of Alton girls’ and boys’ head tennis coach Robert Logan.
Logan passed away on Sept. 18.
“That was really awesome of them,” Alton senior Lucy Phillips said. “It shows how many lives Rob touched. For them to support us this time, it shows that although we’re opponents, we all are like one family together. It was really nice of them to do that.”
The Redbirds have dedicated their season to Logan. They hope to finish strong as their season comes down to their final weeks.
With a 7-2 win over Granite City, Alton is 7-7 overall and 3-3 in Southwestern Conference play with two regular season matches remaining.
“They’re hard working kids who find a way to move on and find a way to focus,” Alton interim coach Jesse Macias said.
The Redbirds will play Belleville West in their final home match on Wednesday and travel to Civic Memorial on Thursday.
“Those are pretty tough teams, so we’re up for some competition,” Phillips said. “But if we can pull out a win there, that would just be a great end to the season. That’s all we can ask for.”
The Warriors have just one win this season. Still, Ames is pleased with the way her team has been performing.
“I’ve got a great group of girls and we had a good time,” the Granite City coach said. “They worked very hard because it’s been a super hot year. It’s been a very hot year and they played through all of that. Winning is part of it, but so are participation and having a good time and we definitely had that this year.”
Alton won five singles matches and two doubles matches on Thursday. Abby Fischer, Hannah Macias, Sam Clayton, Maddie Saenz and Mackenzie Giertz won singles matches and the doubles teams of Fischer/Macias and Mackenzie and Cali Giertz picked up victories.
“It’s awesome,” Phillips said. “We were hoping to come out with the win. We’ve been having a rough time lately. We were really pleased. We were hoping to make it a great day. It was a great end to this week of tennis matches and a great start of homecoming weekend. It’s really great to be able to finally come home with a win.”
Jesse Macias said he was pleased with the efforts from the Giertz sisters at No. 3 doubles. They defeated Hayley Winn and Sarah Schnefke 8-1.
“They were on and off this year as partners,” Macias said. “They’re sisters and they’re twins and they always get along. They’ve been getting the results lately, so those girls really showed up today. They both played well against O’Fallon yesterday. They came out here today and they really wanted it.”
The Warriors got their only wins at No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles. Kayla Bridick beat Phillips in two sets in No. 4 singles and Bridick and Maya Ware defeated Phillips and Saenz 8-6 in No. 2 doubles.
Ames said Ware and Bridick have been solid in doubles this season. Two weeks ago, the Granite City juniors finished fifth in the No. 1 doubles flight at the Alton Invitational Tournament.
“They’re a team that definitely stepped up their game throughout the season,” Ames said. “When they start playing with confidence, then their game really takes off. Like in the Alton tournament and again today, they played very well.”
Granite City celebrated senior day on Thursday. Winn and Ashley Peck are the only seniors on the team.
“They have been very valuable because they both have been dedicated to the program,” Ames said. “They come all of the time and they’re never the ones who missed practice for anything. They’re always there and I can always count on them. That’s a very important characteristic for kids because a lot of kids don’t make that commitment.”
Winn has been playing with the Warriors since her freshman year and Peck joined the team in her junior season.
“It’s sad because I don’t know what I’m going to do now,” Winn said. “After this year, I’m not going to play (tennis) anymore.”
“Our whole team is a good team,” Peck said. “We’re all kind of close and we all have fun with each other.”
Logan died of cancer at age 30. He became Alton’s girls coach in 2009 and was hired as the school’s head boys tennis coach last spring.
“He’s a fabulous man and a fabulous tennis person in Alton and loved the sport so much,” Ames said. “The Southwestern Conference and the Alton community lost a lot in losing Robert Logan and he was so encouraging to the boys and girls because he was with both programs.”
Before the match, Ames gave out a check to Logan’s family.
“Robert’s wishes were to have donations for a memorial at Alton High,” Macias said. “I’m not sure what they’re going to do or how they’re going to do it. He had a lot of friends all over and a lot of people want to support him. That was extremely generous for them to take the time to raise money and donate it for something in his name.”
ALTON 7, GRANITE CITY 2
No. 1 singles – Abby Fischer (A) def. Kourtney Singleton (GC) 6-3, 6-0
No. 2 singles – Hannah Macias (A) def. Ashley Peck (GC) 6-0, 6-0
No. 3 singles – Sam Clayton (A) def. Maya Ware (GC) 6-0, 6-3
No. 4 singles – Kayla Bridick (GC) def. Lucy Phillips (A) 6-3, 6-2
No. 5 singles – Maddie Saenz (A) def. Olivia Brinker (GC) 6-4, 7-5
No. 6 singles – Mackenzie Giertz (A) def. Emma Van Buskirk (GC) 6-3, 6-0
No. 1 doubles – Fischer/Macias (A) def. Singleton/Peck (GC) 8-2
No. 2 doubles – Ware/Bridick (GC) def. Saenz/Phillips (A) 8-6
No. 3 doubles – Mackenzie Giertz/Cali Giertz (A) def. Hayley Winn/Sarah Schnefke (GC) 8-1