GREENCASTLE -- The Northview girls' tennis sectional took to the shelter of Depauw University's Indoor Tennis and Track Center on Thursday after inclement weather made playing outdoors a non-viable option.
The indoor tennis action kicked off as South Putnam fought valiantly against Owen Valley, but was unable to pick up any wins as the Patriots advanced to the sectional final 5-0.
Nervous glances were being eyed around the upper-deck of the indoor center as the Eagles collectively got off to a slow start, with all five courts losing early points. The number one doubles team of Kaitlynn Nissen and Kyley Brown found themselves down by three games early, but rallied to close the gap to one at 5-4.
Their opponents, Erin Truax and Maddie Sego were able to close the set off, then proceeded to rattle off six straight games to win 6-4, 6-0.
Number two doubles pairing Allison Guthrie and Jordyn Pitts suffered a similar fate, falling in the first set 6-3 before taking an early 2-1 lead against Morgan Richardson and Anitra Thompson. The Patriot duo would take the next five games to close the contest with a 6-2 win.
Ashley Ross, playing in the number two singles spot, had a tough go in the first set, falling 6-0 to Elizabeth Schenck. Ross bounced back in a hard-fought second set, at one point leading 5-4. Schenck took the following game, broke Ross' serve, and won to seal off the team portion of the contest with a 7-5 second set win.
Kendra Latham was the first Eagle to take a contest to three sets. The number three singles player fell after an early lead to Aneta Tomesova 6-3 before fighting back and snatching set number two 6-2.
With other matches finishing up, the number threes shared center stage with the number ones as spectators rallied behind their respective players. In the end, Tomesova walked away with a 6-4 third set and the win.
Megan Klotz, playing as the number one single, was involved in a nip and tuck affair with OV's Nicole Duling, trading points back and forth until Duling was able to take away the first set 7-5.
Klotz would not give up and handily took the second set 6-2. The final set played out much like the first, as both Klotz and Duling played several long rallies with cheers coming from both sets of fans at every opportunity.
Duling was able to hang on for the 6-4 win, completing the sweep for the Patriots and eliminating all of South's players from the tournament.
Afterwards, coach John Briones had nothing but praise for his squad.
"You know, the scores show we got beat. We were down in the first set, but everyone battled back and didn't give up," Briones said. "We were close in a lot of matches and the girls wouldn't give up. The number one doubles were down 4-1 at one point, and I remember looking back a little later and it was 5-4. It's an indication of the matches we played today. Nerves got the better of them early and they got into holes, but they fought hard and almost got out of them.
"Again, it shows the character of our team, a never say die attitude," he continued. "We started using the put away shot, something our No. 1 and 2 (Klotz and Ross) players have been doing all season.
"We're gonna miss them. They're leaving some big shoes to fill. They play smash mouth tennis and don't back off in games. Fortunately, our No. 3 (Latham) will be back with experience from this year. Her game has improved all year and I can't wait to see it next year."
Briones then reflected on his senior group, which included Klotz, Ross, Nissen, Brown and alternate Taylor Goss.
"There are five seniors, and we'll miss them all. They gave everything in games and in practice. They are leaders and showed our younger girls what it takes to compete," he said. "They made our group better through their leadership. I can't say enough about them. I could go on and on about them. I think the tears that they had were from pride and not wanting to give up. They played to the very end."
Northview Sectional Semifinal
Owen Valley 5, South Putnam 0
No. 1: Duling def. Klotz 7-5, 2-6, 6-4
No. 2: Schenck def. Ross 6-0, 7-5
No. 3: Tomesova def. Latham 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
No. 1: Truax & Sego def. Brown & Nissen 6-4, 6-0
No. 2: Richardson & Thompson def. Guthrie & Pitts 6-3, 6-2