The Seymour girls tennis team is focused on hoisting the sectional trophy for the fourth straight year on its home courts.
The Owls will get that chance Saturday after knocking off Scottsburg 4-1 in Thursday’s semifinals. At 9 a.m. Saturday they will face Austin, a 5-0 winner Thursday against Trinity Lutheran.
Playing the Owls for the third time this season, the Warriors weren’t going to make it easy. They battled at most positions, including winning a point for the first time.
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“A lot of credit goes to coach (Brian) Roberts. He really had the girls ready to play tonight,” Owls coach Jennifer Miller said. “They’ve lost to us 5-0 twice this season. It’s really hard to beat a team 5-0 a third time, and I felt like Scottsburg’s girls came out with some intensity tonight. They really challenged us at a couple of positions.”
As the No. 23 Owls (18-2) move forward, Miller said that might actually be a good thing.
“In the bigger scheme of things, it will pay off for our girls to win a tight match tonight going into the next round of the sectional and then beyond if we are fortunate enough to get there,” she said. “I would much rather win a tight match knowing that these girls continue to improve mentally with their game than to have another 5-0 win.”
The No. 1 doubles duo of Karen Dringenburg and Emma Wood finished their match before any others began their second sets, winning 6-1, 6-0 against Lindsey Boswell and Jayla Helton in less than 30 minutes.
“I was really happy to see that because that’s what they need to do against their opponents,” Miller said. “They just need to come out and play solid and play smart and have that level of intensity that will carry them through into this tournament.”
Seymour led 2-0 after Marley Vehslage wrapped up a 6-1, 6-3 win against Alexis Lucas at No. 2 singles.
The Owls had the match in hand when Julia Adam fought off Carmen Boley 6-4, 6-3 at No. 1 singles.
Scottsburg then earned its sole point when Leah Hunefeld defeated Kennedy Richart 7-5, 6-4 at No. 3 singles. Richart led 4-3 in the first set before Hunefeld rallied. She then fell behind 5-2 in the second set before pulling within a game, but Hunefeld closed out the win.
“I know Kennedy really feels like that one point at (No.) 3 that she left herself down and her team down,” Miller said. “We win as a team, and that’s what’s important, and she will come out for the better. Everybody can have a bad night, and I would rather have that today than Saturday or next week.”
The final match on the court was No. 2 doubles. Seymour’s Lindsey Hume and Megan Baurle trailed Alexa Howser and Paige Crites 6-5 in the first set before forcing a tiebreaker and winning 7-2. They then overcame a 2-1 deficit in the second set and won 6-2.
In the other semifinal match, the 5-0 score is deceiving because oftentimes while looking at the scorecards, the sets were within a game.
At No. 2 doubles, Trinity’s Shelby Nierman and Maddie Lucas lost the first set 6-4 before winning 7-5 to force a third set. They had a 2-1 edge early in the third set before Austin’s Kami Owens and Skyler Coomer regained the lead and maintained for a 6-3 win.
“We were right there at 5-4 and had a chance to close out the first set, and we just lacked a little confidence to get the job done there,” Cougars coach Mark Voss said. “When you lose that first set after competing so hard, it’s real tough to come back and win the next one, but by gosh, they did it anyway.”
Trinity’s No. 1 doubles duo of Allison Hackman and Sydney Stuckwisch also battled, but they lost 7-5, 6-3 to Holli Reynolds and Cheyenne Riley.
“Very proud of the way the girls played tonight, especially the doubles matches,” Voss said. “No. 1 and 2 doubles both played stellar tonight. Probably the best matches they’ve played this year.”
Austin scored the first point on Kayla Blaylock’s 6-1, 6-2 win against Kendyll Austin at No. 3 singles.
The Eagles then claimed the match with Rebekah Raichel defeating Courtney Barker 6-2, 6-3 at No. 2 singles and Kaylin Carter topping Aurora Willman 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles.
Trinity finished the regular season with a 1-13 record and will lose three seniors, Hackman, Stuckwisch and Nierman.
“Just really proud of the girls and their effort all year. It has been a joy to coach them,” Voss said. “From Day 1 until the very last day here, they’ve improved each and every day. They just basically need to work on their confidence and knowing that they can do it.”