Deep breath. Exhale.
The seventh-ranked Greenwood girls tennis team struggled early but rallied in the late going to defeat Franklin Central 4-1 in the semifinals of the IHSAA Center Grove Regional on Tuesday night.
With the victory, the Woodmen (17-2) play Shelbyville, a 5-0 semifinal winner against Southport, in the regional championship at 4:30 p.m. today. While twins Jade and Jackie Kawamoto extended their undefeated streaks at the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions, the team’s winning third point came from senior Madison Gaudian and sophomore Abby Chatham.
Gaudian and Chatham teamed at the No. 2 doubles spot and came away with a straight-sets victory against Franklin Central’s Melanie Justice and Jamie Conrad, 6-2, 6-2.
What Gaudian and Chatham didn’t realize, the Woodmen’s solid No. 3 singles player, Makenzie Estrem, had lost her first set against a feisty Flashes freshman, Addison Laker. Plus, Greenwood’s
No. 1 doubles team was having its own struggles.
After clinching the third point, Gaudian and Chatham soon realized the importance of what they had accomplished.
“It builds a lot of confidence in them when they don’t play the whole year, but they come in and get a big sectional win and now a big regional win,” said assistant coach John Hannah, who mentors the doubles teams.
“Usually, the No. 2 group isn’t consistent enough to win the match, so we’ve done a good job of having girls with good personalities who really keep each other upbeat and happy the whole time to be able to play nicely. And, they complement one another so well,” he said.
“Abby has been one of our
best base-liners for years, and Madison is fearless at the net. Just having the senior leadership at doubles with Madison has really helped us.”
“Since this is my last year of playing, I just want to give it everything that I can,” Gaudian said. “We’ve gotten the chance to play really tough teams, and we’ve really pulled it together.”
“When one of us gets down, we just kind of cheer each other on and keep coming back to stay up,” Chatham said.
Meanwhile, the Kawamoto twins dispatched their opponents in a space of 25 and 30 minutes each.
Jade defeated Flashes sophomore Jasmine Kalia 6-0, 6-1, and Jackie ousted junior Allison Humbird in straight sets 6-1, 6-0.
On the season, the Kawamoto twins remain undefeated, each with a record of 21-0.
As the match wore on, Estrem came roaring back in the second set, finding her rhythm just in time to defeat Laker 6-1 in the second set.
Estrem’s momentum pushed her over the finish line, beating Laker in a super tie-breaker, 10-3.
Franklin Central’s lone point came in the No. 1 doubles competition. Seniors Eda Schi and Meaghan Couch defeated Greenwood junior Ali Youngman and sophomore Joanna Moran, 6-4, 6-2.
In the sectional doubles tournament, Roncalli’s Emily Quill and Ally Crouch defeated Meagan Battles and Amy Gregory of Morristown, 6-0, 6-1.