ANDERSON — In terms of competitiveness, it would be hard to find a more even matchup.
Three matches went to three sets and one of those third sets went to a tie-breaker. Elwood managed to win two of those three-setters and came away with a 3-2 victory at Highland Middle School on Wednesday.
"It was a good first match," said Anderson coach Jim Hostetler. "Both teams are pretty equal. It gave the girls a chance to play and gave them confidence that they can play. Both teams lost a lot from last year."
In contrast with the other three matches, two matches were off the courts in nearly the blink of an eye.
At No. 1 singles, Elwood's Caley Van Buskirk stopped Katie Urbanski 6-4, 6-1. At No. 3 singles, Anderson's Robyn Thomas came out on top 6-2, 7-5 against Samantha Vest.
Both the doubles matches were played in streaks. One duo would gain the upper hand for two or three games only to lose momentum and the next two or three games.
"Both teams are inexperienced at doubles," said Elwood coach Max Hoppel. "They don't know how to play. They don't play the angles. They just hit it back to one another like it was in practice."
At No. 1 doubles, the Panthers' pairing of Sierra Updegraf and Dayanara Charlton won 4-67, 6-4, 6-4 against Aquirsa Skipper and Hannah Manis. At No. 2, Elwood's Maddi Runyan and Karsyn Powell defeated Savannah Woods and Lexi Heruth 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.
Elwood has a pair of players who are splitting time between the track and tennis teams and they didn't play on Wednesday.
"My lineup was not the way it is going to be," said Hoppel.
But there is a solid reason why the Panthers are going to take the victory not matter what thea circumstances. "Last year we didn't win a match," said Hoppel. "So we will take any victory we can get."
The two teams could meet again next week in the Madison County Tournament.
The tourney starts on Wednesday. Elwood is at Alexandria and Anderson is at Pendleton Heights. Both are 5 p.m. starts. Should the Indians and Panthers either both win or both lose those matches, they would be paired again the following day.