WARSAW – Warsaw girls tennis coach Rick Orban wanted to see his players play their game Thursday night.
He got his wish.
The host Tigers rolled past Tippecanoe Valley 5-0 in a sectional semifinal.
Warsaw, which boasts five seniors in its lineup, will go for the program’s 14th straight sectional championship Friday. The Tigers, who are now 6-8, face Columbia City at 4:30 p.m. at WCHS. The Eagles beat Whitko 4-1 in Thursday’s other semifinal matchup.
The Tigers beat Columbia City 3-2 in the season opener back on April 17 at Warsaw.
Warsaw wasted little time in securing the win versus the Vikings.
The Tigers all-senior lineup of Jacqueline Sasso, Sarah Boyle and Rachel Alexander lost a combined total of just two games on their three courts.
Sasso, the No. 1 singles player for Warsaw, got the ball rolling for the hosts. She defeated Valley junior Hannah Dalrymple 6-0, 6-1 in 35 minutes. Boyle then exited her No. 2 singles court about five minutes later after posting a 6-1, 6-0 win over junior Brittany Shafer. Alexander completed the singles sweep with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Morgan Brazo at No. 3.
“Jacqueline was really focused and played her game and I was pleased with that,” said Orban. “Sarah did the same thing as did Rachel. I was real happy with all of them.
“It’s not a big deal to lose a game or two. Tonight we played our game and that was what I was looking for.”
Warsaw completed the shutout as its No. 2 doubles team of freshman Athena Schlitt and senior Abbi Baum topped seniors Kathy Eagleson and Brittany Riffle 6-2, 6-2. The Tigers also got a win at No. 1 doubles as senior Anna Hall and junior Camille Kerlin beat seniors Morgan Conliff and Kelsey Ball 6-3, 6-4.
“I’m extremely pleased with Athena and Abbi,” Orban said. “I couldn’t ask any more of them. They are mentally tougher now and confident. They think they are going to win every match they play. They also work well together.
“We’re working on something different with our No. 1 team. I’m pleased with how they kept working at it tonight. I think they won the final four games tonight and I’m happy with how they finished the match.”
The Eagles, who beat Wawasee 4-1 in the sectional opener Wednesday, dominated on four courts Thursday versus Whitko.
Columbia City got big wins from its two outstanding doubles teams. Junior Macie Hinen and senior Sydney Ford beat seniors Candice Swick and Abby Marshall 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1 to improve to 18-1 on the season. The No. 2 City team of juniors Cassie Bosselman and Bayley Smith topped freshmen Morgan Keirn and Delaney Keirn 6-2, 6-0. Bosselman and Smith are now 16-3.
Junior Aubrey Wright won over senior Erin Murphy 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 singles for the Eagles. Junior Katie Doerhmann posted a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 3 singles over freshman Aurelia Stephens.
Whitko got a win from Mikayla Findley at No. 1. The sophomore defeated junior Rachel Flauding 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 to advance on in the singles portion of the state tournament series as an individual.
“Our girls are very aware of it,” said Orban of the program’s 13 straight sectional titles. “They know it and talk about it.
“We should win at singles. We did the first time that we played them. But, anything can happen. Columbia City has loaded up at doubles this year and they are very good there.
“I’m real interested to see how our doubles stack up with them. That, honestly, is where my interest will be on Friday. I’m anxious to see what happens there.”
The Warsaw Sectional winner advances to the Culver Academies Regional May 27 and 28. They will play the Peru Sectional champion in a semifinal next Tuesday. The other semifinal will pit the winner of the Bremen Sectional versus the winner of the Culver Academies Sectional.