Lions lead field with NSCs yet to wrap

BREMEN — With four championship matches left to wrap at the Northern State Conference Tournament, it looks like Bremen’s girls tennis team has an outright NSC title in the bag.
The Lady Lions have yet to finish up on the three singles courts and at 2 doubles after earning championship berths on all courts over the weekend.
In the only title match already concluded, Knox’s Chelsea Collins and Miranda Shepherd beat Bremen’s Haley Foster and Cassie Sears 6-1, 6-0 for the 1 doubles title Saturday. The Redskins will play Bremen at 1 and 3 singles, while New Prairie has qualified for championships at 2 singles and 2 doubles. If the Lions win just one of their four matches tonight they’ll have clinched the undisputed NSC title after an undefeated run in round robin play.
Knox and New Prairie remain in a close battle for second at the tourney after respective third and second-place finishes in head-to-head play, meanwhile. If the Redskins can finish with more points in the NSC tourney, they’ll end up tied with the Cougars for conference runner-up honors.
“One thing that we’ve talked about all year is that it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about playing hard, competing, doing your best, and then if you win it’s the cherry on top,” said Bremen tennis coach Andrew Rohde. “That’s how we really look at our matches and so whether we have it wrapped up or not we just want to make sure we’re competing in each match individually.”
Meanwhile Saturday, Triton wrapped up a fourth-place tournament finish after drawing Bremen’s No. 1 seeds in the semifinals at 1 and 2 singles and 1 doubles following wins Thursday night.
Kaelyn Mason lost a competitive 6-4, 6-2 decision with Bremen No. 1 Morgan Smith, while Carrie Slabaugh fell in a three-setter with Bremen’s Alexa Harshbarger at 2 singles, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, and Marissa Ross and Holly Stogsdill lost in straight 6-1 sets to Foster and Sears.
Stogsdill and Ross went on to fall 6-2, 6-4 to Glenn’s Ally Pudlow and Kyler Columbia in a match for third place at 1 doubles, while Mason beat New Prairie’s Riana Sass 6-2, 6-0 in the consolation match at 1 singles, Cassie Irons and Shayla May lost to LaVille’s Kelsi Watts and Katie Simmons in the fifth-place match at 2 doubles, and Tyra Fakes lost to Jimtown’s Madison Mawhorter after taking over at 3 singles for an injured Michal Scherer-Berry Saturday.
“We did very well, I thought,” said Triton coach Allen Peckham. “We’re competing very hard; we’re not getting blown out, so we’re staying in the matches. There are very few points that determine a loss in certain sets sometimes, and it all comes down to the unforced errors or hitting the right shot at the right time, and that’s all that I think has been the difference so far.”
LaVille looks to finish up ahead of Glenn both in the tournament and final conference standings after tonight’s results are made official.
Bailey Frick beat Glenn’s Yuma Yabuta 8-6 at 1 singles before falling to Jimtown’s Brooke Janowski 8-3 in a fifth-place match at 1 singles, while Kaityln Haisley beat both Amy Lehner of Jimtown and Brittnie Spornhauer 8-4 for fifth at 2 singles, and Watts and Simmons put away Triton’s Irons and May 8-6 off fifth place at 2 doubles.
It wasn’t a top conference finish, but it was a big step forward for the Lancers, who have traditionally struggled in NSC play. Head coach Michael Sumpter credits his players’ work in the offseason with what amounts to a big turnaround this year.
“I’ve had a number of girls who have done the indoor racket club indoors over this past winter, and I presume will have the same number if not more this winter,” he said. “I think that’s really going to be a real positive step forward in really transforming who we are.
“This group of girls, there’s something that they believe in to the core of who they are. Even though they all have their little characteristics, and sometimes they can get on each others’ nerves, for some reason they’re willing to go the distance… And there’s something of value, and I believe that value is their teammates.”
Also tonight, draws will be made for the Bremen Sectional as the IHSAA Girls Tennis Tournament gets under way this Wednesday. Bremen, Triton, Glenn and LaVille will enter the Bremen field alongside reigning champion Plymouth, which is coming off a third-place finish at the Northern Lakes Conference Tournament over the weekend.
“I feel like we’re going into the sectional in great shape,” said Peckham. “We’re in a lot better shape than we were at the beginning of the year. We’re competing better, we’re staying with everybody, we’re fighting for everything.”
At DeSantis Courts in Bremen
No. 1
Morgan Smith (Bremen) beat Kaelyn Mason (Triton) 6-4, 6-2; Kelsey Thomas (Knox) beat Riana Sass (New Prairie) 6-1, 6-1; Kaelyn Mason (Triton) beat Riana Sass (New Prairie) 6-2, 6-0; Bailey Frick (LaVille) beat Yuma Yabuta (Glenn) 8-6; Brooke Janowski (Jimtown) beat Bailey Frick (LaVille) 8-3
No. 2
Alexa Harshbarger (Bremen) beat Carrie Slabaugh (Triton) 1-6, 6-2, 6-3; Olivia Kuczmanski (New Prairie) beat Kayla Bailey (Knox) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2; Kaityln Haisley (LaVille) beat Amy Lehner (Jimtown) 8-4; Kaityln Haisley (LaVille) beat Brittnie Spornhauer 8-4.
No. 3
Andrea Strehler (Bremen) beat Julia Jacobson (Glenn) 6-1, 6-0; Brittany Fletcher (Knox) beat Nicole Vanheste (New Prairie) 6-0, 6-1; Nicole Vanheste (New Prairie) beat Julia Jacobson (Glenn) 6-1, 6-0; Madison Mawhorter (Jimtown) beat Tyra Fakes (Triton) 8-0; Madison Mawhorter (Jimtown) beat Tabitha Lymburner (LaVille) 8-1.
No. 1
Championship: Chelsea Collins-Miranda Shepherd (Knox) beat Haley Foster-Cassie Sears (Bremen) 6-1, 6-0
Chelsea Collins-Miranda Shepherd (Knox) beat Ally Pudlow-Kyler Columbia (Glenn) 6-4, 6-4; Haley Foster-Cassie Sears (Bremen) beat Marissa Ross-Holly Stogsdill (Triton) 6-1, 6-1; Ally Pudlow-Kyler Columbia (Glenn) beat Marissa Ross-Holly Stogsdill (Triton) 6-2, 6-4; Lisa Fischer-Allison Marley (New Prairie) beat Kelsey Weinkauf-Amber Miller (Jimtown) 8-2.
No. 2
Sami Vogeler-Brooke Kresca (New Prairie) beat Maggie Farwig-Steph Aller (Jimtown) 7-6 (1), 6-0; Heidi Prawat-Haley Moren (Bremen) beat Kylie Bridegroom-Jenna Landrum (Knox) 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3; Kylie Bridegroom-Jenna Landrum (Knox) beat Maggie Farwig-Steph Aller (Jimtown) retired; Kelsi Watts-Katie Simmons (LaVille) beat Cassie Irons-Shayla May (Triton) 8-6.