Lady Pilgrims top Bremen, 4-1

PLYMOUTH — Any win over a sectional opponent is a good win, and Plymouth bounced back from a tough loss to Valparaiso Monday with a 4-1 win over sectional rival Bremen at home Thursday.
The Lady Pilgrims won on all courts except 1 singles and in straight sets at three of the other four flights to claim its second win of the season.
“Bremen and us, it seems like have been competing for the sectional for a number of years in a row. We knew they were going to give us a great effort today, and they did,” said Plymouth head coach Brad Haeck. “We just focused on being ready to play right from the beginning of the match. We knew we were going to have our hands full trying to get a win out here today, and thankfully we had some people step up and continue to improve in some spots.”
Bremen’s lone win came at 1 singles as skilled sophomore Morgan Smith avenged one of only two losses last year with a pair of 6-3 wins over Kelly Hoeffler.
“There aren’t a whole lot of weaknesses to Morgan’s game, and we were happy with the way she played tonight,” said Bremen coach Andrew Rohde. “Kelly is such a competitor, she can run down just about any ball. Morgan has to be on top of her game to beat her, and we were happy with the way it turned out.”
In another closely contested match at 3 singles, Pilgrim sophomore Ellen Smith battled back from a 6-4 loss to Bremen’s Chelsea Anglin with two straight 6-1 set wins. It was Smith’s second split set win after falling behind a set in her varsity debut at John Glenn last week.
“We got off to a real good start there in the first set, and the Plymouth girl really just played a good match and just got stronger and stronger throughout it. Kirstyn battled real well, and I give her a lot of credit for battling, it was just Plymouth’s day today,” said Rohde.
“I think it’s just such a mental game and for her she’s a sophomore, but there’s going to be a lot expected of her this year,” said Haeck. “She needed to work some things out in her head and figure some things out with her game, being able to keep the ball in play and construct points. She’s gotten a little better in each match. We need her; she’s an important part of what we want to do this year, and we’re going to need her to come through in a lot of matches this year.”
Allie Berger put Chelsea Anglin away 6-4, 6-0 at 2 singles, and Marissa German and Andria Shook beat Bremen’s 1 doubles tandem of Hanna Arch and Janessa Morris 6-0, 6-1.
Emily Blake stepped up from Plymouth’s JV squad to fill in for injured senior Victoria Dewar, who was sidelined with an ACL tear during Monday’s Valpo meet. Blake started her varsity career with a win as she combined with Mikayla German to beat Bremen’s Haley Moren and Alexa Harshbarger in a competitive 6-3, 6-2 match at 2 doubles.
“That’s what we’re going to go with right now. Victoria tore her ACL on Monday during our match so that’s a big blow for us. She definitely deserved to be in the top seven of our lineup this year as a senior,” Haeck said. “It’s unfortunate that that happened, but we’re going to stay positive and it gives Emily a chance to step up with Mikayla. That’s going to be another important position for our team, and one we hope will get better.”
Thursday’s loss was Bremen’s second match in two days after opening its season with a win over Glenn Wednesday.
“I don’t know if it has too much of an impact, but what’s hard is we had spring break last week, we had a practice on Monday, and it was freezing cold on Tuesday. We came out and hit a little bit, and then we’re right in the middle of our season,” said Rohde. “I think that has a bigger impact than anything. Everybody has to deal with the weather so I’m not making excuses, but it’s definitely not great tennis weather right now. But, again, it affects both teams, and tonight Plymouth was definitely the better team.”
Bremen slips to an even 1-1 as Plymouth improves to 2-1.
The Lions will hit the road to play in the Goshen Round Robin Tournament Saturday as Plymouth hosts its annual tennis tournament featuring some tough competition in Chesterton, Michigan City, Lafayette Harrison, Mishawaka Marian, Fairfield, Peru and Knox.
“That tournament, we got rained out last year, and I hope we get to play,” said Haeck. “It’s a home tournament, and we usually have a lot of fans out here. It’s really a lot of good teams. It’s eight teams total, and it’s going to be three tough matches for each team every day. We’ve gotten a lot of quality teams to come so it gets us ready for our conference season.”
At Plymouth
Singles: 1. Morgan Smith (B) beat Kelly Hoeffler 6-3, 6-3; 2. Allie Berger (P) beat Chelsea Anglin 6-4, 6-0; 3. Ellen Smith (P) beat Kirstyn Buck 4-6, 6-1, 6-1
Doubles: 1. Marissa German-Andria Shook (P) beat Hanna Arch-Janessa Morris 6-0, 6-1; 2. Emily Blake-Mikayla German beat Haley Moren-Alexa Harshbarger 6-3, 6-2
Records: Plymouth 2-1, Bremen 1-1
JV score: Plymouth 6, Bremen 2