SYRACUSE – Getting past Wawasee’s overall record coming into Saturday, the box scores for the girls tennis team have showed promise. A step in the positive direction came Saturday, as Wawasee won all three games of its home Wawasee Tennis Invite, claiming a rare piece of hardware for the trophy case.
Wawasee went 3-0 on the day, beating Prairie Heights, Columbia City and Southwood all by 5-0 scores to wrap up the perfect day. The championship was the first for Wawasee in its own tournament, and the first team title earned since the 2000 sectional championship.
Wawasee gave up just five games in its opening round win against Prairie Heights, the No. 1 doubles team of Kabrea Rostochak and Kendra Doerr rolling a shutout. Peyton Rookstool at No. 2 singles and Courtney Larson and Taylor Mock at No. 2 doubles both lost just a game each.
Quite a way to kick off the tournament, according to Wawasee head coach Shane Staley.
“This year I feel we are starting to turn the corner a little bit,” Staley said. “It’s no secret we’ve had a pretty rough past 10 years or so. Part of it is believing in yourself and preach that in practice. Then taking that confidence into the match. That transfers into match play and we’ve noticed that in our matches recently.”
Two dubs again played hot in round two against potential sectional foe Columbia City, tossing the shutout. Elizabeth Kleopfer at No. 3 went 6-1, 6-1 and Meg Heinisch at No. 1 went 6-1, 6-0.
Southwood, which also entered round three at 2-0 on the day, put up quite a fight.
Kleopfer completed her big day with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Brook Wyatt and the two dubs duo walked off a 6-2, 6-2 winner against Mary Sieberns and Haleigh Snyder.
Rookstool would break serve in both sets to trip up Kim Hobson 6-3, 6-3 and Heinisch held off a very talented Drue Gentry 6-4, 6-4.
At one doubles, Brook Wyatt and Emily Gwillim nearly broke the perfect string, taking game one 7-5 against Rostochak and Doerr. But the Wawasee duo rallied for a 6-3 second set, then made it official with a 10-5 clincher in the final tiebreaker.
“The one dubs have been working hard on their strategy,” Staley said. “They’ve become very competitive and are working together as a team. They are 2-0 in the NLC and have played well out of conference. They surely have stepped up as one of our top courts.”
Wrapping up the three-way round robin, Southwood beat Columbia City 4-1 and Prairie Heights 5-0. Columbia City defeated Prairie Heights 4-1.
“We wanted to stay steady and focus on playing who is in front of us today,” Staley said. “We knew that Prairie Heights was down a little this year, and we opened with them so that should get us off on the right foot. We hope today takes us into Northridge on Tuesday with some momentum.”
Wawasee moves to 5-7 overall and jumps back into Northern Lakes Conference play Tuesday with a dual at Northridge.