Lady Trojans trump LaVille at Bremen Sectional opener

BREMEN — The state tournament is all about surviving and advancing, and that’s just what Triton’s girls tennis team did Wednesday.
It wasn’t the Lady Trojans’ best tennis, but it was good enough to secure a 4-1 victory over LaVille in the opener at the Bremen Tennis Sectional at DeSantis Courts.
“It was close because we almost did lose there at the beginning,” said Triton head girls tennis coach Jennifer Potter. “You can’t overlook anybody.
“I think we came in thinking it was going to be a cake walk and not having our heart in it, and it kind of showed tonight, I guess on basic skills that we’ve done all year. We just didn’t play to our ability level.”
The Trojans overcame a slow start to put the Lancers away in straight sets on all but the 1 doubles courts.
Marissa Ross beat Brittney Haisley 6-3, 6-2 at 1 singles, Jessica Babendrager put Katie Simmons away 6-0 in the second set after a 6-4 opener at 2 singles, and Holly Stogsdill trumped Kaitlyn Haisley 6-4, 6-2 in 3 singles play. Triton also earned a doubles victory in the No. 2 flight as Carrie Slabaugh and Savannah Baker won a 6-0, 6-2 decision against Taiyler Straub-Thomas and Kelsi Watts.
Triton advances to play 11-time defending champ Plymouth tonight at 4:30 p.m., while host Bremen takes on John Glenn in tonight’s other semifinal. The championship is slated for 4:30 p.m. Friday.
“We’re definitely going to have to play a lot better tomorrow and come in with better attitudes if we want a chance of winning,” said Potter. “Hopefully, they’ll get some rest tonight and come back stronger tomorrow.”
Although LaVille closed out its team season with Wednesday’s loss, the Lady Lancers’ No. 1 doubles tandem of Hannah Lentz and Bailey Frick stayed alive in the individual tournament with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Triton’s Kendall and Kaelyn Mason.
“Doubles, we’ve been really trying since going into (the Northern State Conference Tournament) to put an emphasis on being really aggressive and charging the net,” said LaVille head coach Michael Sumpter. “Instead of us waiting on the points, we want to go out and make the points, and doubles today they came out and they really made those opportunities and took advantage of it. They’ve worked hard, and they did a good job against a really good Triton team.”
The team bids goodbye to seniors Straub-Thomas and Haisley, but it wasn’t a bad note to close on. The Lancers finished the season winless, but Wednesday’s sectional match was a solidly competitive closing note and one Sumpter hopes his program can build on.
“I really, really like what we’ve done here at the end. We ended our season on a totally different note than how we started; it’s just unfortunate we couldn’t get the thing turned around sooner,” Sumpter said.
“I’ve learned more from this group of kids as a coach because you need to allow them to be aggressive and you’ve got to allow them to make their mistakes and not control your players so much,” added the LaVille skipper. “This year, this group, they’ve gone out, especially these last couple days and done their thing. As a coach, I’ve taken a bigger step this year than I have my last eight, nine years. I’ve learned something from them, and that’s belief.”
At Bremen Tennis Sectional
Singles: 1. Marissa Ross (T) beat Brittney Haisley 6-3, 6-2; 2. Jessica Babendrager (T) beat Katie Simmons 6-4, 6-0; 3. Holly Stogsdill (T) beat Kaitlyn Haisley 6-4, 6-2.
Doubles: 1. Hannah Lentz-Bailey Frick (L) beat Kendall Mason-Kaelyn Mason 7-5, 6-2; 2. Carrie Slabaugh-Savannah Baker (T) beat Taiyler Straub-Thomas-Kelsi Watts 6-0, 6-2.
Records: Triton 4-7, LaVille 0-12 (final)