Plymouth in midst of crucial swing matches as rain shortens 2nd round of NLC play

PLYMOUTH — Plymouth kept its hopes alive for at least a second-place conference finish as rain cut short the second round of the Northern Lakes Conference Girls Tennis Tournament in Centennial Park Thursday.
The Lady Pilgrims’ chances at a conference championship took a hit in Wednesday’s opening round as this year’s hosts went 3-2 with losses on the 2 and 3 singles courts, while round robin-unbeaten Northridge advanced on all courts. Plymouth finished up head-to-head play with defeats to both the Raiders and second-place Goshen, and with three semifinals versus the Redskins, the Pilgrims’ hopes of topping Goshen at the tourney to share runner-up honors in the final NLC standings hinged heavily on the outcome of those three matches.
Allie Berger fell 6-4, 6-1 to Goshen’s Miranda Kay at No. 1 singles after advancing through Wawasee’s Esther Hermann Wednesday in the only Plymouth front draw match not postponed by rain Thursday night. The Lady Pilgrims find themselves knotted with the Redskins on both doubles courts as semifinal play resumes today.
In the third set at 1 doubles, Andria Shook and Marissa German split sets with Emily Halley and Ali Peters with a 6-1 win in the second set following a 6-4 loss in the opening set, and the tandems are locked in a 2-2 stalemate in the third set as they pick up where they left off today. Meanwhile at 2 doubles, Plymouth’s Ellen Smith and Emily Blake fell in their first set with Goshen’s Leah Shetler and Kayci Troyer, and the competitors were knotted 4-4 in the second set when play was called Thursday.
“We’re kind of in dogfights in both of those matches,” said Plymouth girls tennis coach Brad Haeck. “Goshen has good teams at 1 and 2 doubles so we just have to come out and be confident and play our game and try to get those. We talked before the night started about how crucial those matches are against Goshen. Because we played three matches tonight against Goshen and we’re trying to finish ahead of them in the tournament, with them and Northridge both being ahead of us after the regular season round robin. Those are critical as far as us getting points and taking points away from them at the same time — those are big swing matches. We’ve got a lot riding on those, but I’m confident our girls will come out ready to play tomorrow and hopefully we can pull both of those out.”
Meanwhile in 2 singles play, Mikayla German salvaged her team some points with a three-setter over Concord’s Hailey Stiver. Mikayla entered the back draw round after a straight-set loss to Goshen’s Lisanne Scheffers Wednesday, and she fell behind a set against Stiver with a 6-4 loss in their opener Thursday. But she stayed alive with a 7-5 win in the second set and put away Stiver 6-2 in the final set to advance to tonight’s fifth-place match.
“She just kind of hung in there,” said Haeck. “She was hustling down balls and finding a way to keep the ball in play and the matches, not even just those front draws but the back draws as well. You’re still accumulating points for our team regardless of whether you’re in the front draw or the back, and whether you have a chance to still win your bracket or not, they’re all still important. We stressed that they were all going to be important, and she got us some points there that we really needed.”
Also Thursday, Plymouth No. 3 singles player Carlie Berger was just a game into her back draw match with NorthWood’s Megan Reed. Carlie, Shook-Marissa and Smith-Blake will all resume their matches tonight, and Mikayla is slated to play for fifth in the 2 singles bracket tonight as well. Thursday’s early finish left several of the second round’s 20 matches undecided, and Allie will have to wait until Saturday’s final round for her third-place match.
At Plymouth
No. 1
Semifinals: Miranda Kay (Goshen) beat Allie Berger (Plymouth) 6-4, 6-1; Sarah Smith (Northridge) beat Jenna Landis (Concord) 6-2, 6-1.
Consolation round: Emily Hoffman (NorthWood) beat Sarah Boyle (Warsaw) 6-2, 6-1; Bailey Denton (Elkhart Memorial) beat Esther Hermann (Wawasee) 6-0, 6-1.
No. 2
Consolation round: Mikayla German (Plymouth) beat Hailey Stiver (Concord) 4-6, 7-5, 6-2; Jacqueline Sasso (Warsaw) beat Katy Ashpole (Wawasee) 6-2, 6-4.
No. 3
Semifinals: Taelor Grose (Elkhart Memorial) beat Lindsay Sciarra (Warsaw) 6-4, 6-1.
Consolation round: Holly Angel (Concord) beat Priscilla Par (Wawasee) 6-0, 6-0.
No. 1
Semifinal: Courtney Clark-Olivia Erekson (Northridge) beat Kennedy Walter-Tori Schwartz (NorthWood) 6-4, 6-2.
Consolation rounds: Megan Auger-Emily Davis (Concord) beat Sam Prins-Jada Antonides (Wawasee) 6-1, 6-0; Olivia Wallin-Marley Smith (Warsaw) beat Delaney Gilbert-Haley Stouder (Elkhart Memorial) 6-2, 6-1.