Helias Catholic Girls Varsity Tennis Goes to State By Shannan Schulte

Helias Catholic Crusaders defeated Waynesville 9-0. Double winners were Mary Conley 8-0, Abby Dowden and Lauren Highfill 8-2, and Emmi Theroff and Grace Verslues 8-1. In singles, varsity winners were Ashley Dowden 12-0, Mary Conley 12-0, Abby Dowden 11-1, Lauren Highfill 12-0, Megan Villanueva 12-0, and Cassidy Rolling 8-4.

“Next season for tennis my team has to keep doing what we are doing now to get as far as we are now,” said Mary Conley. “I am excited for state because I have never been there before so I am really excited,” Conley said.

Helias Catholic varsity won over Moberly 9-0 bringing the season 11-1. Single winners were Ashley Dowden, Mary Highfill, Abby Dowden, Lauren Highfill, Megan Villanueva, and Cassidy Roling. Varsity double winners were Ashley and Abby Dowden, Mary Conley and Lauren Highfill, and Megan Villanueva and Cassidy Roling.

Helias Catholic defeated Camdenton 9-0 bringing the season to 12-1. Varsity double winners were Ashley and Abby Dowden 8-3, Mary Conley and Lauren Highfill 8-0, and Megan Villanueva and Cassidy Roling 8-3. Varsity single winners were Ashley Dowden 13-8, Mary Conley 12-3, Abby Dowden 12-2, Lauren Highfill 7-5,2-6, 10-4 with a tie break, Megan Villanueva 12-0, and Cassidy Roling 12-0.

On Helias’s senior night for tennis they had a win 9-0. Varsity singles winners were Ashley Dowden 12-2, Mary Conley 12-4, Abby Dowden 12-1 Lauren Highfill 12-1, Megan Villanueva 12-1, Cassidy Roling 12-2.  Varsity double winners were Ashley and Abby Dowden 8-1, Mary Conley and Lauren Highfill 8-1, Megan Villanueva and Cassidy Roling 8-1.

Helias Catholic Tennis won the Smith Cotton Invitational for the second year in a row.  The wins were added up to 24 points putting Helias Catholic in second place after Hickman. Single winners were Ashley Dowden winning the tournament for the third year in a row with wins over Hickman 8-0, 6-3, 6-2 and for the championship 6-1, 6-0.  Abby Dowden placed fifth in the Smith-Cotton 8-1, but lost 1-8, and then Abby had three wins in a row over: Clinton 6-1, 6-0 and Hickman 6-3. Double winners were Mary Conley & Lauren Highfill. They placed second overall winning over Smith-Cotton 8-0, Hickman 7-5, 6-4 then losing championship round to Hickman 1-6, 3-6. Megan Villanueva & Cassidy Roling finished fourth overall by beating Lee’s Summit 8-1, Battle 8-2, then lost to Hickman 1-6, 3-6 and Hickman 4-6,1-6.

Helias Catholic beat Osage with a 9-0 victory bringing the season record to 14-2. Winners in singles were Ashley Dowden 12-1, Abby Dowden 12-0, Lauren Highfill 12-4, Megan Villanueva won by forfeit, Cassidy Roling 12-0, and Liz Conley 12-1. Doubles winners were Ashley Dowden & Mary Conley 8-1, Abby Dowden & Lauren Highfill 8-0, Megan Villanueva & Cassidy Roling 8-1.

Helias Catholic won the Hannibal Tournament. Single winners were Ashley Dowden 3-0 for the day winning 10-1 over Kirksville, 10-2 over Hannibal, and a forfeit win over Troy.  Mary Conley went 3-0 winning over Kirksville 10-2, Troy 10-0 and Hannibal 10-0.  Abby Dowden went 3-0 winning over Kirksville 10-1, Hannibal 10-0, and Troy 10-1.    Megan Villanueva was 3-0 winning over Kirksville 10-2, Hannibal 10-0, and Troy 10-0.  Cassidy Roling went 3-0 winning over Hannibal 10-3, Kirksville 10-2, and Troy 10-1.  Doubles winners were Emmi Theroff & Grace Verslues 3-0 for the day winning over Kirksville 10-7, Troy 10-3, and Hannibal 10-0. Lauren Highfill went 2-1 for the day winning over Troy 10-6, Hannibal 10-5 then losing to Kirksville 4-10. The Helias finished the regular season with a 14-3 record and 5-0 in tournament action.

Helias Lady Crusaders defeated Mexico in their first match of district play, winning 5-0. Ashley Dowden and Mary Conley finished first with a 8-0 victory.  Lauren Highfill & Abby finished with a 8-1 victory.  Megan Villianueva & Cassidy Roling won in 8-1.  In singles Ashley Dowden and Mary Conley both won singles with 6-0, 6-0 sets to finalize the 5-0 team victory Abby Dowden 6-0 and 5-0, Lauren Highfill 6-0 and 1-0 and Megan Villanueva 6-0 and 3-0, and Cassidy Roling was winning 4-0.

“For the next steps in the season I am trying not to hit the ball to the girl at the net in doubles and getting my serve over the first time,” said Megan Villanueva. “It is a rewarding feeling knowing that all the hot practices and bad tan lines paid off since we are going to state! Even though we haven’t made it that far yet, we find out this weekend. But the fact that we can go to state as a team and experience it all together is awesome! It is a little intimidating being in the top five because all of the other girls are so good but everyone gets along so well and encourages one another so it takes the pressure off a little. Some things that are challenging about playing your senior year is you have to miss out on some things but the wins and the memories made on the long bus rides together are things that I wouldn’t take back for a second!”

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