For The Tribune
With the team score tied up at 2-2 in the girls tennis Hoosier Hills Conference semifinal between Seymour and Columbus East, it came down to the battle at No. 3 singles between Alaysha Pollert and Lou-Anne Hourau to decide the outcome.
Pollert and Hourau kept the fans on the edges of their seats.
After dropping the first set 6-4, Pollert turned things around, storming back to capture the second set 7-5. In the third set, Pollert found an extra surge and pushed past Hourau 6-1 as Columbus East stunned the Owls, 3-2.
The Olympians move on to face Floyd Central in today’s championship match at 10 a.m.
“Honestly, patience has always been a big thing with me because I have never been good with it,” Pollert said following her grueling match.
The Olympians have been making a lot of noise recently and putting area teams on notice, as they are playing their best tennis of the season. Columbus East has won nine of its last 10 matches, including seven straight.
“Early in the year, it was rough transforming with a new coach (Matt Malinsky),” Pollert said, “but we have meshed with him pretty good, and he has helped us out a lot in practice and working us hard.”
Malinsky was proud of Pollert’s mental toughness.
“In the first set, she was not trusting her shots,” he said. “She started moving her feet around more in the second and third set. She found great footwork and started hitting out on her forehand more.”
The match had started on Thursday night, but rain put a stop to the event just a few minutes later, forcing the Olympians and Owls to finish up Friday.
A big difference in the match came the return of Columbus East’s top player, Megna Chari, who missed the earlier matchup with the Owls due to illness. Chari wasted no time in her No. 1 singles match against Hallie Crenshaw, cruising to a 6-2, 6-1 victory.
“Having Megna back definitely strengthened their singles,” Seymour coach Jennifer Miller said.
“Moving Emma Wood to No. 1 doubles weakened singles a bit for us, too. I was proud of Lou-Anne pushing it to three sets. My girls played really hard tonight, and it came down to who would prevail at No. 3 singles. At the end of the day, Alaysha showed a lot of maturity.”
Seymour captured the two doubles matches. At No. 1, Wood and Lindsey Hume downed Esta Morrison and Kendall Gerken 6-2, 6-0. The No. 2 doubles match was a little closer, but Addie Rudge and Katie O’ Mara topped Carol Travis and Maddie Rhodes 6-3, 6-4.
Adycin Rager tied the score up at 2-2 for the Olympians when she defeated Megan Baurle at No. 2 singles 6-3, 6-4, setting the stage for the dramatic finish at No. 3.