BREMEN – The moment was so big, the Bremen fire department was called in.
The Bremen girls tennis team, which slayed the dragon Wednesday when it defeated 13-time defending sectional champion Plymouth, took care of business Friday in the Bremen Girls Tennis Sectional final, defeating Triton 4-1. In winning its first sectional title since 2000, the team was given a victory lap around the city escorted by some of the town’s finest.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Bremen head coach Mark Wagner stated as the sirens rang through the neighborhood in the background. “You have to understand, I played on Bremen’s first tennis team and can understand how big of a deal this is. We have built up to this over the past couple of years. We knew we would be good, but they had to work hard. It took four years, but we got where we wanted.”
In what looked to be an evenly matched final on paper, Bremen made its victory look rather simple in rolling courts coach Wagner couldn’t believe with his own eyes.
One singles maestro Morgan Smith had her way with Kaelyn Mason one and love, using her power game to her advantage. In lulling Mason into spars on the volley, Smith would then uncork several hard winners down line. The win for Smith, who was celebrating a birthday, was icing for a big senior year.
“I think it will be very encouraging to have my team there with me,” Smith said, who has qualified as an individual in previous seasons but now with her team as a senior. “I’ve played there as an individual and have experienced the pressure of a regional, but it will be neat to have my teammates playing beside me.”
Alexa Harshbarger at two singles got a game from Shayla May, but managed to put the Triton foe away one and love.
Both of Bremen’s doubles teams were equal to the task as well. Shaelyn Atkins and Andrea Strehler had little trouble in beating Cassie Irons and Michal Scherer-Berry two and love while Cassie Sears and Haley Moren ended Carrie Slabaugh and Holly Stogsdill’s season with a one and two final. Triton’s one doubles team had beaten Bremen in the Northern State Conference tournament just last week.
With the outcome academic, three singles motored on. Triton would pick up its only court win of the final from Kylie Mason, who outlasted Bay Cope 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 in a match that lasted nearly two hours. Mason, who began the season as a manager but was convinced by coach Al Peckham to give it a whirl, left her coach with a good spin on Triton’s final day of tennis this season.
“I knew they were solid all the way,” Peckham said.. “It was going to take a perfect night to win, and I thought we hit the ball well. We hit as well as they did, but they seemed to get all the points.
“I’m really happy and pleased with what we were able to do this season.”
Triton closes its season at 11-4 and is still chasing the elusive sectional title last won in 2004.
Bremen (19-2) will advance to the Culver Academy Regional Tuesday to face the host Lady Cadets. Bremen, which has not won a regional crown since 1983, knows its work load will be daunting with traditional regional staple teams CGA, Warsaw and Peru all waiting.
“I’ve never had to talk to the team about a regional,” chuckled Wagner. “Actually, we have watched scores in the paper and we think we can match up pretty well with CMA. We’re optimistic.”