HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

TENNIS SECTIONAL: Murphy’s heroics give Mounties win over Wolves, Athenians blank Chargers

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Mallory Murphy was the star of the show for Southmont tennis on Wednesday night. With the match between the Mounties and Parke Heritage all tied at two, Southmont needed a Murphy win at No. 1 singles over Cassie Clark to advance to the sectional championship. The senior delivered a thrilling, come from behind win in three sets 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (6) to send her team forward. 

After forcing a tie-break, Murphy found herself down 3-6, and just a single point from losing the match. She then proceeded to rally off five straight points to win the tie-break 8-6 as her Mountie teammates and fellow fans in attendance couldn’t contain their excitement. 

“Coach (Rob Reimondo) kept telling me just one point at a time,” Murphy said. “I just saw my family sitting there along with my teammates and they were all telling me the same thing which was just don’t give up. I was thinking this was either going to be the last time that I played tennis or I can help my team get to play for a sectional title. It was definitely a stressful moment for sure.” 

Southmont secured the other two wins at No. 2 singles as Hanna Long was victorious 6-0, 6-2 over Rebekkah Ayers and at No. 3 singles where Madison Murphy defeated Gillian Jeffers 6-2, 6-4. 

“It was an unforgettable match tonight,” Southmont coach Rob Reimondo said talking about Mallory’s performance. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way that all of our singles players stepped up. You have to give Parke Heritage a ton of credit for the way they made us work. Mallory fought off three match points and continued to be patient and that patience definitely paid off.” 

Southmont fell at both doubles spots against the Wolves. Bailey Barker and Megan Scheidler fell 1-6, 4-6 to Grace Ramsay and Jillian Gregg while Dori Frederick and Marley Jones were defeated 4-6, 1-6 by Hannah O’Brien and Kristen Wood. 

The win for the Mounties now sets up a county re-match against Crawfordsville. The Athenians defeated the Mounties 4-1 earlier this season. Reimondo knows it will once again be a challenge if his team wants to be crowned sectional champions. 

“They’re the favorite and I’m not surprised one bit that they’re there,” he said of the Athenians. “We will have our hands full for sure. We hope to just not beat ourselves and come out and play to win.” 

The Mounties will look for their first sectional title since 1996. 

Athenians sweep Chargers 

The second matchup of the season between the Chargers and Athenians was yielded the same result as the first time as Crawfordsville came away with a 5-0 sweep of North Montgomery to advance to the sectional championship.

At No. 1 singles newly Hanover signee Lauren Hale defeated Kaitlynn Greenlee 6-4, 6-3. Hanna McLean earned a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 2 singles over Sydnee Turner. Samantha Rohr notched a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 3 singles versus Carlie Desmet. At No. 1 doubles Cathleen McGrady and Ella Hudson defeated Joy Davis and Allison Guard 6-4, 6-2, and at No. 2 doubles the tandem of Lilly Klingbeil and Elyse Widmer picked up a 6-1, 6-0 win against Courtney Engles and Paige Hudson. 

“I thought they played really well tonight and played with a ton of a confidence,” Athenian coach Jeff Strickland said. “All of the points were close and even thought the score shows 5-0, I thought the match was much closer than that. North played well and made us earn everything.” 

The Athenians will play for their first sectional championship since 2016 against the Mounties and Strickland is looking forward to hopefully adding another checkmark on his team’s bucket list. 

“Our goal coming in was to win county, conference and sectional,” he said. “We won county and fell just short in the conference so we’re right where we want to be going into tomorrow night with a chance to bring home a sectional title.” 

The Chargers season comes to an end with an overall record of 7-12. The team will graduate two seniors in Greenlee and Davis. Coach Shannon Collier talked about the impact those two seniors have had on the program over the last four years.

“They’ve always been good leaders for us” she said. “They’re always working both on and off the court and helping our younger players improve and are a big reason why we’ve improved so much this year.”

The match between the Athenians and the Mounties is scheduled to get underway at 4:45 tonight at Crawfordsville. 

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