Girls tennis: Pioneers fall to Central DeWitt in 1A regional finals

May 15—ELDRIDGE — As successful as Ishita Mukadam has been on the tennis court, the Fairfield Maharishi senior has been just successful off the court.

For the third straight season, Mukadam had to miss out on regional girls tennis play to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair. Without the two-time state tennis qualifier out of the line-up, the Pioneer girls tennis team suffered its first and only dual loss of the season falling 5-0 to Central DeWitt on Tuesday in the Class 1A, Region 4 finals.

"Everyone in the lineup had to play up a rung on the ladder, but we were still competitive," Maharishi head girls tennis coach Lawrence Eyre said. "Poojita Mukadam (Ishita's younger sister) took regional champion Brooke Bloom to a third-set match tiebreak before falling (in the No. 1 singles match).

"Aparajita Kalra pushed fourth-ranked Brooke Kent to the edge before falling 11-9 in her third-set tiebreak. Joyce Wang down 5-7, 2-4 but was still battling on court when the Sabers scored their deciding fifth-match victory to punch their ticket to the state team tournament. I'm proud of the way our girls competed."

Central DeWitt (14-8) will head to Iowa City on Saturday to face Dike-New Hartford in a Class 1A state tennis tournament quarterfinal at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center. Mukadam, Karla and Ria Altynska-Ross will make their own trip to the same facility next week to compete in the Class 1A state singles and doubles tournament starting on Thursday morning.

"I'm delighted our doubles newbies (Karla and Altynska-Ross) have qualified for state in their first season playing together," Eyre said. "Ishita is our program's first two-time state qualifier since 2011. She'll be looking to improve on her seventh-place finish in last year's state singles tournament."

The Pioneers have now reached the 'Sweet Sixteen' of regional girls team tennis each of the past three seasons. Fairfield Maharishi ends their 2024 campaign with a 9-1 dual record.