BRAZIL -- Kelsey Hennette's hands were still shaking. The Greencastle High School senior was happy and, at the same time, relieved. The 2 hour and 20 minute match was over and for the second year in a row, she was the singles champion of the Northview-IHSAA girls tennis sectional.
Hennette's 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 victory over Northview's Jazmine Kellum accounted for Greencastle's only point. Northview's Knights claimed their fourth straight sectional title, 4-1, over Greencastle.
While Greencastle closed the season with an 8-4 record, Hennette will take a 13-3 record to the regional.
Greencastle coach Trish Lowe knew the Tiger Cubs would have to play very well to win.
"I really thought we had some chances and when Kate (Babington at No. 3 singles) and Marta (Torre at No. 2 singles) and one doubles (Savannah Provine and Carole LaFoe) were still in their matches, I just thought we could get lucky. But I knew we would have to get some breaks," Lowe said.
Northview's four points came in straight set victories, although Marta Torre at No. 2 singles and the No. 1 doubles team of Savannah Provine and Carole LaFoe took the Knights into a tie-breaker.
Lowe was pleased with the progress the Tiger Cubs made this season.
"Kate Babington did not start in (No. 3 singles) position this year and she has really come has come into her game of tennis. She is the lone sophomore in the group and she is going to be a good tennis player," Lowe said.
Torre is an exchange student from Spain. "She really developed as we progressed. After she overcame the culture shock, she did a nice job for us. She played a nice match today," Lowe said.
The sectional team title was decided long before Hennette and Kellum finished their marathon match.
The two righthanders locked into a battle on contrasting styles. Hennette, the taller player, hits the ball hard, running the opposition all over the court. Kellum, now 14-5, slices and places every stroke and controls the pace.
"I was trying to play my game and not drop down and play at her level. I wanted to play how I know I can. Make her move corner to corner, hit my shots and then attack the net," Hennette said.
Hennette won the first set 6-3 and took the momentum into the second set, winning the first two games. Then Kellum got a couple of lucky bounces at the net that appeared to bother Hennette. Kellum took the second set 6-4.
"It did. (Kellum) is very good at slicing the ball, so I had to get low and move my feet," Hennette said.
The third set was a long, drawn out contest of wills -- who would make the most errors? Finally, Hennette's ability to run Kellum from side to side paid off with the victory.
"That's my game. Swing, hit with pace. That's how I play," Hennette said.
The loss ended the high school careers of seniors Torre, Provine, LaFoe, Emma Kaiser and Kristen Flint.
Northview Girls Tennis Sectional
Northview 4, Greencastle 1
Singles -- Kelsey Hennette (G) def. Jazmine Kellum (N) 6-3, 4-6, 7-5; Allie Melega (N) def. Marta Torre (G) 6-6 (7-5), 6-2; Ali Rentschler (N) def. Kate Babington (6-1, 6-3.
Doubles -- Andrea James and Bonnie Froderman (N) def. Savannah Provine and Carol LaFoe (G) 6-3, 6-6 (7-5); Olivia Kumpf and Hannah Pond (N) def. Emma Kaiser and Kristen Flint (G) 6-1, 6-1.
Next game -- Northview (16-4) will play Roncalli in match two on Tuesday at Center Grove High School. Greencastle finished the season 8-4.