The setting may have changed, but the end result didn’t.
Though an ominous forecast shifted the championship match of the Center Grove girls tennis sectional to the indoor courts at the University of Indianapolis on Friday, the loss of a home-court advantage didn’t affect the Trojans one bit, as the state’s third-ranked team coasted to a 5-0 triumph against county rival Franklin.
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“It messed with us a little,” Center Grove senior Maddie Weeks said of the venue change, “because it’s indoors and we’re used to the outdoor conditions with wind; that’s what we always practice in. But we were still able to come out and get the job done, so it still worked out.”
Center Grove (18-2) will be back at home for next week’s regional. The Trojans face Southport in a semifinal match Tuesday.
Franklin ends its season with a 14-6 record.
Isabella Schoolcraft and Cassidy Hardin got the ball rolling for the Trojans with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Daryn Hyneman and Katie Purk at No. 1 doubles.
Weeks followed moments later with a 6-0, 6-0 win against Abi Smith at No. 3 singles.
The Trojans wrapped up the sectional crown with another 6-0, 6-0 victory, this one from Carleigh Hardin and Ellie Strube at No. 2 doubles.
Center Grove finished off the shutout with straight-sets wins at No. 1 and No. 2 singles. Katelyn Gray posted a 6-1, 6-3 victory against Lexi Wilkison, and Emily Hoy defeated Kate Heuchan 6-2, 6-1.
Despite the defeat, Franklin coach Rusty Hughes was pleased with his team’s season overall.
“I’m proud of our team,” Hughes said, “because our team is very, very young, and we came out and gave it everything we had all season long.
“We kept getting better and better each and every day.”
Center Grove, meanwhile, has its sights set much higher than just the sectional.
“Every year we’ve gone farther,” Weeks said. “My freshman year we lost sectionals, my sophomore year we got to semistate and last year we got to state. So this year, we want to take it even farther.”
Trojans coach Debby Burton has similar goals but also wants to avoid looking too far ahead.
“That’s one of the things we’re really focused on doing,” she said. “One day, and let’s just kind of keep going and see how things go.”
So far, so good.