Daily Journal correspondent
Tournament-host Center Grove had no trouble in Tuesday’s first round of the girls tennis regional.
The 10th-ranked Trojans blanked Shelbyville 5-0 to advance to today’s championship match against Franklin Central.
Franklin Central beat Southport 3-2 in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
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The Trojans continue to get exceptionally strong play at all three singles positions. Although both doubles teams started slow, they finished strong against the Golden Bears.
Junior Maddie Weeks was first off the court, defeating her No. 2 singles opponent junior Elizabeth Finkel, 6-0, 6-0 in less than an hour.
“We’re feeling pretty confident right now,” Weeks said. “After getting that sectional win, it really pumped us up. It’s still one match at a time.
“Our coach (Debby Burton) never allows us to get ahead of ourselves. She keeps our feet on the ground, and that keeps us focused for the match that’s in front of us.”
Weeks, a three-year starter, recently moved up from the No. 3 singles spot to No. 2.
“At first I was a little nervous. I had become pretty comfortable at No. 3 over the past two years,” Weeks said. “But everyone keeps pushing me, so not only have my skills improved, so has my experience. I know what to expect out there now.
“I keep telling myself I’m not going to change my game. I just try to be consistent and do my best.
“Every point counts no matter what the position. It’s been a real journey.”
Meanwhile, sophomore Isabella Schoolcraft had a strong outing, beating Golden Bears senior Bri Ayres in the No. 1 singles match, 6-1, 6-2.
And at No. 3 singles, Trojans freshman Ellie Strube earned a 6-0, 6-0 win against sophomore Daniela Joseph.
In doubles play, Center Grove junior Bailey Hammons and sophomore Cassidy Hardin beat senior Cassidy Skipton and junior Aliva Chenoweth 6-3, 6-0 at No. 1.
At No. 2 doubles, senior Madison Smeathers and junior Carleigh Hardin beat senior Makayla Schacht and sophomore Sam Watson, 6-3, 6-0.
Meanwhile, in the singles sectional tournament, Indian Creek senior Candace Danz defeated Scecina senior Caroline Friedly 6-0, 6-1.
Also in singles play, Roncalli junior Kathleen Ditton got by Perry Meridian senior Anna Osborne 6-4, 6-2.
And in the doubles sectional, Franklin senior Nina Bias and sophomore Daryn Hyneman advance by defeating Decatur Central’s Alonda DeLao and Jenna Gregory 6-3, 6-4.