After beating Salem 9-0, the Benton High School girls tennis team participated in the 45-team Heather Bradshaw Invitational in Edwardsville last weekend and it came down to one match.
Sophomore Chloe Hill came off the bench to fill in for an injured teammate and won her match to spark the Rangerettes to two wins in three matches.
"I wasn't really expecting to play unless they brought extra people," Hill said.
The week opened with Hill sitting on the bench against Salem and she was still sitting the bench without a care in the world in the opening match in Edwardsville Friday.
In the first match in Edwardsville against Effingham, Macy Shelton, who was undefeated in both singles and doubles, went down with an ankle injury with the score tied 6-6 forcing her to default her No. 6 singles match.
During the break before doubles, Hill was informed she was about to make her varsity debut playing with Jordan Eickelman at No. 3 doubles replacing Shelton. Her debut was a success with Hill and Eickelman winning 8-4.
"I was really nervous because I wasn't sure I could compete at varsity level," Hill said. "I think we fell behind the first couple games. I wasn't hitting too well at first, but toward the middle of the first set, I got better."
Saturday, with Shelton still out, Hill and Eickelman teamed up again at No. 3 doubles to win 8-2. She and Eickelman, who won at No. 5 singles, were the only winners in the 5-2 loss to Danville
"I wasn't as nervous this time since Jordan and I played so well together the first time, " Hill said.
In the last match, Benton played St. Thomas More and the dynamic duo teamed up again at No. 3 doubles, but the fairly tale start ended with an 8-6 loss.
However, Hill later played her first varsity singles match at No. 6 and she finished with a bang winning, 7-5, 6-3.
"I was really nervous because I played the girl we just played in doubles," Hill said. "She had some really good ground strokes and that's a big part of singles. She had a really good forehand at the net, so I hit it to her backhand side, which helped a lot. In the second set, I also used lobs."
The icing on the cake was that the Rangerettes were nominated for and won the Sportsmanship Award for the tournament.
"We were the one team out of the whole tournament to win that trophy," said Benton coach Alyssa Williams. "That was kind of cool. It says a lot about our girls because I would not have won a sportsmanship award when I played."
The Rangerettes have two road matches this week at Salem Tuesday and Mt. Vernon Thursday.