By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Playing in the championship match at four of the five positions and winning two of them was enough to propel the Northridge Raiders to the team championship in the NLC high school girls tennis tournament Saturday at the Mary Beth Hunter Tennis Complex in Plymouth.
Northridge also won the regular-season title by posting a 7-0 league record.
“Our three seniors won this, because they have been here before,” Northridge coach Angie Brenneman said. “I’m proud of the seniors, but every one of the girls played good tennis. This is our springboard into the postseason.”
The final order of finish in the team standings were Northridge, Goshen, Plymouth, Elkhart Memorial, Concord, NorthWood, Warsaw and Wawasee.
Senior Sarah Smith was the champion at No. 1 singles and classmate Ashley Owens at No. 2 singles to lead the Raiders.
Smith defeated Goshen junior Miranda Kay 6-3, 6-1.
“I had to hit the ball from sideline to sideline to move her before she moved me,” Smith said. “My goals coming in were for the team to win and for me to win as an individual.
“Our team has really good chemistry. That is not something you would think you would normally need in tennis since it is more of an individual sport, but it’s nice to know everyone is pulling for you.”
The temperature was cool on Saturday and three was a pretty good breeze at times.
“I would rather play on a day like this than when it is super hot,” Smith said.
Smith’s win was a special one for Brenneman.
“Her victory was the one that put us over the top,” the coach said. “This was her time to shine. She has lost some tough matches in the tournament the past few years. Today there was no way to stop her.”
Owens was a 6-4, 6-3 winner over NorthWood freshman Sydney Wysong. Their match was the last one done as it featured some very long points.
Owens fell behind 3-0 in the second set.
“I didn’t give up and kept my head in the match,” Owens said.
“I used to get anxious in situations like that, but now manage to stay calm. Sydney is a very good opponent. I’m happy to have pulled this out my senior year.”
Owens won four straight games to take a 4-3 lead in the second set.
“That was the turning point of the match,” she said.
Owens is accustomed to winning in the NLC as she is also a member of the Northridge swimming team.
“Ashley had a great season,” Brenneman said. “She went 6-1 in the NLC. She the girl who gave her only loss in the league in a match that lasted three hours and was rained out on Thursday and had to be continued on Friday. That was a huge win for her and a key one.
“There is a lot of pressure when you are the only ones left playing. Ashley got through it based on her experience. She has been there before.”
Goshen’s No. 2 doubles team of senior Leah Shetler and sophomore Kayci Troyer defeated senior Sam Lutain and sophomore Holyn Eldridge of Concord 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the finale.
“We had to stay positive after dropping the first set,” Shetler said.
“This was a tough match and it should get us ready for sectional.”
“It’s feels good to win with Leah since she is a senior,” Troyer said.
“The first game we were not very aggressive. The second we came out and started cheering each other one. Leah is my biggest inspiration and I am her biggest inspiration.”
Shetler and Troyer entered as the No. 4 seed. They upset the No. 1 seed — Emily Blake and Ellen Smith of Plymouth — 7-5, 7-5 on Friday to reach the championship.
“The Plymouth team is good and it was a very close match,” Shetler said.
“That was an intense match,” Troyer said.
Goshen coach Daniel Love said, “Leah and Kayci played some terrific tennis. The scored was tied 4-4 in the second set when rain stopped it. That was a hard place to pickup the match on Friday.
“They have improved so much this season in being aggressive and in their mental attitude. One of the reasons they make a good team is they compliment each other so well. Leah is the more consistent hitter from the baseline while Kayci is the more aggressive one at the net.”
Love was not concerned about Kay’s loss to Smith.
“There are times you lose to good players,” he said. “Miranda is playing some of her best tennis of the season.”
No. 1 Singles
First Place — Sarah Smith (Northridge) def. Miranda Kay (Goshen) 6-3, 6-1.
Third Place — Jenna Landis (Concord) def. Allie Berger (Plymouth) 7-6 (10), 6-2.
Fifth Place — Bailey Denton (Memorial) def. Emily Hoffman (NorthWood) 6-1, 7-5.
Seventh Place — Sarah Boyle (Warsaw) def. Eshter Herman (Wawasee) 6-3, 6-0.
No. 2 Singles
First Place — Ashley Owens (Northridge) def. Sydney Wysong (NorthWood) 6-4, 6-3.
Third Place — Lisanne Scheffers (Goshen) def. Corinne Whitakter (Memorial) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Fifth Place — Jacqueline Sasso (Warsaw) def. Mikayla German (Plymouth) 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Seventh Place — Katy Ashpole (Wawasee) def. Hailey Stiver (Concord) 6-4, 6-1.
No. 3 Singles
First Place — Taelor Grose (Memorial) def. Emily Hughes (Northridge) 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
Third Place — Lindsay Sciarra (Warsaw) def. Sarah Rush (Goshen) 6-3, 6-0.
Fifth Place — Carly Berger (Plymouth) def. Holly Angel (Concord) 7-5, 6-4.
Seventh Place — Megan Reed (NorthWood) Priscilla Par (Wawasee) 6-2, 6-3.
No. 1 Doubles
First Place — Marissa German-Andria Shook (Plymouth) def. Courtney Clark-Olivia Erekson (Northridge) 6-2, 6-1.
Third Place — Emily Halley-Ali Peters (Goshen) def. Kennedy Walter-Tori Schwartz (NorthWood) 6-1, 6-4.
Fifth Place — Megan Auger-Emily Davis (Concord) def. Olivia Marlin-Marley Smith (Warsaw) 6-1, 6-4.
Seventh Place — Delaney Gilbert-Haley Stouder (Memorial) def. Sam Prins-Jada Antonides (NorthWood) 6-1, 6-0.
No. 2 Doubles
First Place — Leah Shetler-Kayci Troyer (Goshen) def. Sam Lutain-Holyn Eldridge (Concord) 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
Third Place — Emily Blake-Ellen Smith (Plymouth) def. Emily Erekson-Mackenzie Martin (Northridge) 6-3, 6-4.
Fifth Place — Alaina Donegan-Taylor Stutzman (NorthWood) def. Mady Robinson-Taylor Freedline (Memorial) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
Seventh Place — Mallory Bartel-Mattie Doran (Warsaw) def. Natalie Fritz-Molly Smith (Wawasee) 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.
All-NLC — Position winners are automatic selections plus at-large choices of Miranda Kay, Emily Halley and Ali Peters of Goshen; Olivia Erekson of Northridge.
Honorable mention —Tori Schwartz and Kennedy Walters of NorthWood, Jenna Landis, Sam Lutain and Holyn Eldridge of Concord, Bailey Denton of Memorial, Allie Berger of Plymouth.
Coach of the Year — Daniel Love of Goshen.