By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
TROY — In their final match together, Meredith Fitch and Hannah Fugate couldn’t find a better way to pay tribute to their late, great former high school coach at Milton-Union Sharon Paul at the Frydell Junior Tennis Tournament Friday at Troy City Park.
Paul, a playing and coaching legend on the courts, passed away earlier this year.
Fitch and Fugate defended their girls doubles title, while Fugate also won the 18-and-under singles title.
“This was Hannah’s (Fugate) last time playing in the tournament,” Fitch said about her long-time doubles partner who graduated from Milton-Union last spring. “So, to be able to win for coach Paul, that was pretty special.”
Fugate she had some help from above in winning the two titles.
“Coach Paul (Sharon Paul) was with me today,” Fugate said. “That’s who I give all the credit to for everything I have been able to do in tennis.”
Fugate was able to rally from a slow start to get past Dakota Schroeder, who plays for Tippecanoe High School, 4-6, 6-3, 10-7.
“I knew I had to play better than I did yesterday,” Fugate said. “I got off to a rough start and then started playing better.”
The girls played a 10-point tiebreaker after splitting the first two sets and Fugate wasn’t surprised to be in that position.
“Dakota (Schroeder) and I do clinics together at Schroeder’s,” Fugate said. “That’s where we have played a lot. She is athletic and powerful. I knew it was going to be a tough match.”
Fugate was happy to get the victory.
“I was hopeful I could win (the tournament),” she said. “But, I knew today’s match was going to be a tough one.”
In the backdraw, Lilian McDowell defeated Danielle Robbins 6-2, 6-0 before losing to Natalie Milligan 6-2, 6-4.
Maci Yeager of Springfield made it worth the trip, defeating Nina Short 6-4, 6-1 in the finals.
“I felt like this was a good tournament to play in before starting the high school season,” Yeager, who plays for Northwestern High School, said. “You are always hopeful you will in.”
Yeager took control in the second set after a close first set.
“I think I just became more confident as the match went on that I was going to win,” Yeager said. “It was a fun tournament to play in.”
In the backdraw, Katie Schultz defeated Celeste Hartings 6-1, 6-0.
Fitch and Fugate defeated Yeager and Frakel 6-1, 6-2 for the title.
They said their success is easy to explain.
“We have been playing together for a long time,” Fitch said. “And we are really good friends.”
“When we are not playing tennis together, we are usally hanging out together,” she said. “We are really close.”
And they knew they would have a challenge in the final.
“They played well,” Fugate said. “They hit a lot of good shots. We knew it was going to be a tough match.”
Fitch felt the score was deceiving.
“I felt like it would be a closer match, but they pushed us,” she said. “We knew it was going to be a tough match. Leah (Frakel) is really good at strategizing. We knew she would do that and make it a tough match and she did. It was pretty special to be able to get a win for coach Paul in our final match together.”
In the backdraw, Izzy King and Arabella Partee defeated Josie Romich and Katie Bertke 6-0, 6-1.
Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org
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