HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

TENNIS: Athenians fall 3-2 in regional semis 

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Crawfordsville girls’ tennis coach Jeff Strickland watched senior and No. 2 singles player Hannah McLean lay it all on the line in her final tennis match.

The end result was a three-set loss 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Covington’s Nai’a Pettit, giving the Trojans a 3-2 win over the Athenians to advance to Wednesday’s regional final against Sullivan, who beat Greencastle 5-0.

“Hannah battles for every single point, she gives everything she has to everything she does and she did it again tonight,” Strickland said.

“We’ve told the girls all year, that if you give us heart, we’ll take it and that’s what we want. And she showed that tonight. I think she showed a ton of heart and it was a hard loss to finish her career on, but man what heart she showed.”

Strickland knew it would be tough for Crawfordsville to flip the 3-2 setback they suffered to Covington in the regular season. And the Trojans won at all the same spots again on Tuesday. Grace Wright blanked Lauren Hale 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles and Karsyn Engle and Emma Taylor won 6-1, 6-0 over Ella Hudson and Cathleen McGrady at No. 1 doubles to join Pettit in the win column for Covington.

“We came in and knew it was going to be tough to get another point,” Strickland said. “Covington is a really good team and they’ve been playing really well of late too.”

Crawfordsville picked up wins from Samantha Rohr, who defeated Halle Grady 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 singles and Lilly Klingbeil and Elyse Wimder, who beat Daisy Goeppner and Cora Reynolds 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 at No. 2 doubles.

“It was awesome,” Stickland said of his young No. 2 doubles team. “They’re both first year playing varsity and it was really cool to see them do that together as a team and get excited as a team and cheer each other on and really give us momentum and tie it two-all and give us a shot at the match.”

Crawfordsville closes the season at 10-7 after winning the county title and its first IHSAA Sectional since 2016.

“That’s something we talked about two years ago when we didn’t end up getting to have a season,” Strickland added. “but to say ‘we don’t want to just do something for a year, we want to build a program again, build a legacy, and get back to what we believe Crawfordsville tennis is and has been and it was really cool to get county and sectional this year. They were two big goals that we had and to accomplish that was so encouraging. I think the future of the program is really bright.”

Sullivan tops Greencastle 5-0

Sullivan beat Greencastle 5-0 on Tuesday to advance to the girls’ tennis regional final.

The match reflected the same result as their Western Indiana Conference meeting, as the Arrows remain perfect on the season.

“I felt like we were much more aggressive at the doubles,” Greencastle coach xx said. “We scored more games overall at doubles I believe. Longer points and better placement. Singles battled and my No. 3 played for the longest of all of them. No. 1 played a mirror image of herself and got edged out.”

At No. 1 singles, Molly Ramey fell 6-1, 6-2 to Hanna Burkhart, while Maddie Landry lost 6-4, 6-0 at No. 2 singles to Paige Chickadaunce, and Ally Schimpf lost 6-3, 6-2 to Anastasia Smith in the No. 3 slot.

At No. 1 doubles, the duo of Allison Fajt and Faith Hartman lost 6-0, 6-3 to Peyton Sisil and Sarah Francis, while Caroline Gooch and Sophie Riggle lost 6-3, 6-1 to Alexandra Baker and Courtney Lueking in the No. 2 spot.

Sullivan will play Covington in the regional final on Wednesday.

Greencastle’s season comes to a close with a 16-5 overall mark.

“After we lost last season, they were just heartbroken,” xx said. “I would say all of the varsity did a lot of offseason work and they came in with more focus than any team I’ve ever had. They were coachable, they’re kind to each other, they played to improve the whole season and I was just impressed with the type of young ladies that they were and it was great to see them get this far. They earned the right to put the ‘21 on the wall in the McNally and we hope to do it again.”

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