INDIANAPOLIS – In a state tournament series that has one of the most recurrent success pipelines, the girls tennis state series will again come down to what team wants to upset the giant. The IHSAA drew its sectional brackets for this week’s sectional tournament Monday evening, laying out the maps for the 45th annual series which begins this Wednesday across the state.
Plymouth, coming off its share of the Northern Lakes Conference championship after winning the tournament to split with regular season champ Concord, looks to be the prohibitive favorite to five-peat. Bremen is the only team to have a win against Plymouth in sectional play in the last 18 years, a win in the 2014 sectional that sent the Lions to its only sectional championship. Bremen is 17-4 this season heading into the tournament, and upset is on its mind.
The layout for the games at DeSantis Courts will have John Glenn and LaVille play Wednesday in the first contest. A young Triton team will have the first crack at dethroning Plymouth as the two will meet on Thursday, opposite Bremen versus the Wednesday winner.
Bremen’s title game will take place at 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.
Another tournament that has been very chalk this past generation, Warsaw will once again come in as the heavy favorite until someone can knock them off. Head coach Rick Orban is quick to point out the team is working on 19 in a row, but also carries a bit of caution coming into this week’s tournament. Orban’s group didn’t play for a championship at last week’s NLC tourney, but had solid play up and down the line among its fourth-place team finish.
Gunning to knock out the defending champs are an upstart group of teams. Game one Wednesday will see Wawasee and Whitko lock horns, the two played Monday night with the Warriors claiming a 5-0 win over the Wildcats. Thursday will have Columbia City and Tippecanoe Valley meet opposite Warsaw versus the Wawasee-Whitko winner. Valley has markedly improved this season, with its one doubles team of Tiphanie Hodge and Makenna Bradley sitting at 15-1 on the season, one of the top court runs in program history.
Warsaw’s title game will take place at 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.
A sight unseen in Nappanee this week as NorthWood will host its first girls tennis sectional on campus in decades. The Panthers also come in as one of the frontrunners, having reached the regional final a season ago with largely the same lineup. NorthWood also finished third at the ultra-balanced NLC tournament last week.
In order to return to the regional round, the Panthers will have to start right away, and face its arch rival in Fairfield in Wednesday’s opening matchup. NorthWood went 4-1 on Fairfield in April, but the Falcons have shown improvement in recent weeks taking on some quality clubs. Goshen and Bethany Christian will square off Thursday with Jimtown waiting on the Wednesday winner.
NorthWood’s title game will take place at 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.
Warsaw and Bremen sectional championship teams will head to the Culver Academy Regional, while NorthWood will join into the Elkhart Central Regional. Culver Academy will see teams from Warsaw and Culver Academy, along with Peru and Bremen square off while Elkhart will have East Noble and Elkhart Central opposite NorthWood and Angola. All of the regional games are Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. The Culver regional champion returns to Culver Academy for the semi-state on May 25 while Elkhart’s winner goes to Homestead for it’s semi-state.
The individual tournament, reserved for one singles and one doubles teams that remain unbeaten through the sectional but not in the team tournament, will begin work May 21 at Culver Academy (Warsaw and Bremen) and Northridge (NorthWood).