Lebanon – The Zionsville girls tennis team used Wednesday’s sectional opener against Western Boone as a chance to get better.
While the final team result was never in jeopardy, the Eagles wanted to make sure they got something out of the match for later in the post-season. They were able to do just that, beating the Stars 5-0 to advance to the sectional semifinal.
“It was a good opportunity to work on some of the things they have wanted to try in matches,” Zionsville head coach Stephanie Reece said. “They were able to get some confidence today. Everybody always falls on a scale, some are stronger than you, some are equal and you can play tight the entire match and there are some teams you are just stronger than at every position. It was a good effort, we came out very focused and did what we needed to do.”
Still, with having to win three matches in three days to win their 17th-straight sectional, it was good to get off the court on Wednesday in less than 45 minutes.
“There is a lot going on with school and stuff now too,” Reece said. “The girls are doing a really good job of really dialing in and just staying focused on what they need to do and not worry about the other stuff. If they are focused, they are going to make fewer mistakes and play smarter.”
Western Boone finished the season at 10-8 this year.
Head coach Colin Haney said he was proud of the girls effort in defeat.
“Just like any other match, we wanted to come out here, play our best tennis, compete and have fun,” Haney said. “I thought we did that today. There were a couple things we could have done better, but overall we played well.”
At No. 1 singles, Brittany Jones defeated Katie Collins 6-0, 6-0.
At No. 2 singles, Rachel Mingus defeated Becky Collins 6-0, 6-1 and at No. 3 singles, Sierra Allen topped Molly Kinsey 6-1, 6-2.
At No. 1 doubles, Anna and Lauren Campbell topped Talyn Guinn and Grace Kumler 6-1, 6-0 and at No. 2 doubles, Simryn Kapur and Sophie Regele topped Kate Coffman and Rylee Ramsey 6-0, 6-1.
“I thought our No. 1 doubles did a good job and it was a continuation of what they have done all year,” Haney said. “The other spot that I thought did a really good job was Molly Kinsey at No. 3 singles.”
While it didn’t end the way the Stars wanted it too, Haney said he saw a lot of good things from the team during the season.
They played about half the year without normal No. 1 singles player Maggie Klingensmith, and still managed to win 10 matches.
“They were a very hard working and enjoyable group to coach,” Haney said. “Day in and day out they helped get the culture of our program to where we wanted it to be and provided a lot that we can continue to build off of in the future.”
Haney said he is excited for the future of the program.
“We are returning a lot,” Haney said. “When you graduate three girls, you think it would be a punch to the gut, but we have a lot of great juniors returning and some JV players that are ready to fill the gap. We are looking at a year that we could be pretty good.”
The Eagles advance to play Lebanon in the sectional semifinal on Thursday.
The other semifinal is Frankfort vs. Rossville. The Eagles topped the Tigers 5-0 just a couple of weeks ago.
“We just have to focus on playing our game,” Reece said. “We want the girls to play smart, high percentage tennis, especially at doubles. We want to work on some of the things we have been having troubles with, like not over hitting short balls and cutting down on unforced errors. That is something we have gotten better at as the season has gone on.”
Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter and Zionsville Times Sentinel. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.