By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – West High earned its biggest win in recent history Tuesday with a road victory over defending state champion Cedar Rapids Prairie.
Aimie Villarini spent the last few days wondering if her team was capable of pulling off an encore this weekend without its number one singles player.
Villarini got an emphatic and surprising answer to that question on Saturday.
West High remained unbeaten with a pair of impressive wins on Saturday knocking off previously unbeaten Dubuque Wahlert 5-4 and Dubuque Hempstead 6-3 in a Mississippi Valley Conference double dual at West High.
“My team surprised me today,” Villarini said. “I was honestly thinking we probably could lose these and I was preparing myself for it but these were really great wins and it is just showing me more of how deep we are.”
West High didn’t skip a beat without regular number one Emma Koch, improving to 10-0 on the season and 7-0 in MVC play.
Sophomore Kaily Speer slid into the number one singles spot and won both of her matches on Saturday.
Speer teamed with fellow sophomore Vivian Mitchell to win twice at number two doubles as West High won four of six doubles matches in the two duals.
“Wahlert hadn’t lost, they are a great team and Hempstead was our first loss of the season last year so it felt good, especially missing one of our best players” Speer said. “This was a big day for us.”
The wins on Saturday capped an impressive week for West High.
A 5-4 win over defending 2A champion Prairie started the week that ended with West High as the lone unbeaten team in the MVC.
“That was the first time in the four years I’ve been here that we have beaten Prairie so that was a big accomplishment and it honestly was our biggest win so far this season,” West High senior Abby Jans. “That gave us a lot of confidence in our abilities coming into today and I thought we played amazing.”
Jans and freshman Jessica Moonjely each went 2-0 in singles play on Saturday and combined for a pair of doubles wins.
“I think we played amazing,” Jans said. “We all were determined to go out there and do what we could to win and we played with such confidence and such a positive attitude.”
The dual with Dubuque Wahlert came down to doubles after the two teams split the singles matches.
Speer and Mitchell clinched the win with a 10-8 victory over the Wahlert tandem of Meghann Long and Anna Herrig.
All four of the wins for Speer on Saturday were 10-7 or closer with three matches ending 10-8.
“Kaily is just rock solid mentally and I am really proud of her,” She pulled through all of these really tight matches, all four of them were tight and she just battled through it.”
Against Dubuque Hempstead, Speer gave West High a 4-2 advantage after singles play with an entertaining 10-8 win over Joyce Sun at number one.
Meg Moreland won a 10-6 decision over Megan Oberfoel at number five singles to go with victories from Jans and Moonjely.
“I’m learning more and more each day about my team and what we are capable of,” Villarini said. “Our mental toughness has really improved a lot, we have some people that are pulling out some tough matches and the difference is the mental game.”
West High 5, Dubuque Wahlert 4
1. Kaily Speer (ICW) def. Audrey Hinz 10-8
2. Abby Jans (ICW) def. Meghann Long 10-1
3. Jessica Moonjely (ICW) def. Anna Herrig 10-0
4. Abby McDonald (DW) def. Vivian Mitchell 10-8
5. Carolyn Conlon (DW) def. Meg Moreland 10-1
6. Anna Freiburger (DW) dev. Lauren Katz 10-3
1. Jans/Moonjely (ICW) def. Hinz/McDonald 10-4
2. Speer/Mitchell (ICW) def. Long/Herrig 10-8
3. Conlon/Freiburger (DW) def. Moreland/Sydney Shie 10-1
West High 6, Dubuque Hempstead 3
1. Kaily Speer (ICW) def. Joyce Sun 10-8
2. Abby Jans (ICW) def. Lauren Tressel 10-2
3. Jessica Moonjely (ICW) def. Lauren Ludescher 10-2
4. Erin Connelly (DH) def. Vivian Mitchell 10-7
5. Meg Moreland (ICW) def. Megan Oberfoel 10-6
6. Kerry Houlihan (DH) def. Sydney Shie 10-7
1. Jans/Moonjely (ICW) def. Sun/Tressel 10-4
2. Speer/Mitchell (ICW) def. Ludescher/Connelly 10-7
3. 5-6 (DH) def. Moreland/Lauren Katz (ICW) 10-8