Allegan quartet receives All-State tennis honors
The Allegan girls’ tennis program has a long-standing tradition of putting together strong doubles teams.
The 2018 season was no exception, as evidenced by the fact that all four of the Tigers’ doubles tandems reached at least the semifinals at the Division 3 state finals last month.
For that outstanding play, the four players that comprised two of those doubles teams were honored with inclusion on the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association’s annual All-State team.
Allegan’s No. 1 doubles team of Mollie Babbitt and Aubrey DeBoer joined the No. 2 team of Nicole Gallaway and Emma Philippus as the Tigers’ All-State honorees.
“I’m so happy for these girls,” Allegan girls’ tennis coach Jennifer Aldrich said. “They all work hard and are very deserving of this honor.”
While Babbitt played at No. 1 doubles for the second straight season as a senior this year, the flight was new to sophomore DeBoer. In fact, doubles in general was new to DeBoer.
As a freshman, DeBoer played No. 3 singles. An injury, however, necessitated the move to doubles.
“We had to move her to doubles this year due to a foot injury,” Aldrich said.
DeBoer made the transition from singles to doubles a smooth one, as she and Babbitt teamed up to post a 24-3 record. Along the way, the pair claimed Wolverine Conference and regional championships before bowing out of the state finals in the semifinals.
It was the third time Babbitt reached the state semifinals during her prep career. Making that feat even more impressive is the fact that Babbitt played with a different partner all four years.
“Mollie is such a great leader on and off the court,” Aldrich said. “She’s obviously a great doubles player. She’s very smart about setting up points.”
DeBoer did her best to make Babbitt’s final high school season a successful one.
“Aubrey worked so hard to improve her net game and really learned to play the doubles game very well,” Aldrich said.
This year’s accomplishments for juniors Galloway and Philippus were almost identical to those of Babbitt and DeBoer.
Galloway and Philippus finished with one more victory at 25-2, also winning Wolverine Conference and regional championships. They were also state finalists, finishing runner-up in their flight.
Although both played doubles in the past, this marked the first year they’d been teamed up. Philippus played No. 2 last season, while Galloway was at No. 3.
“They had great chemistry with each other as partners,” Aldrich said.
Being a state finalist was the next step for Galloway after being a semifinalist as a sophomore and a quarterfinals as a freshman.
“Nicole has lots of energy,” Aldrich said. “A big thing for her was she learned to believe in herself this year. Because of that, she played with a lot of confidence and was very aggressive.”
Philippus reached the finals in her flight after being a state semifinalist a year ago.
“Emma is a fierce competitor,” Aldrich said. “She works extremely hard and is very coachable. She, like Nicole, is also very aggressive on the court.”