Memorial nips North in tennis semi-state

JASPER – Fifth-ranked Columbus North came back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the No.4 Evansville Memorial in two games apiece on Saturday, but the Tigers rallied for a three-set win at No.3 in singles to pull off a 3-2 victory in Jasper’s semistat.

“It was a tough loss to take,” said Northern coach Kendal Hammel. “We controlled the game and made ourselves difficult.”

Memorial quickly took the lead when Margo Throop and Abigail Myers, who were in the state doubles final in 2019, defeated Jaline Tay and Tiffany Fu 6-0, 6-1 in the No. 1 doubles. Eleanor Myers of the Tigers, who is one of the favorites to win this year’s state singles title, went on to dominate Ashlie Wilson 6-2, 6-2 at No.1 in singles.

The Bull Dogs (20-3) entered the table when Kathryn Wilson beat Chase Boyer 6-2, 6-2 at No.2 in singles to finish unbeaten this season.

“Kathryn played really well against a strong player,” said Hammel.

North tied the game when Leah George and Sydney Cooper clinched a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Anna Clark and Sadie Schulz for 2nd in doubles.

“We had a great first set and then we really let our energy level and our game go down for a bad second set,” said Hammel. “Came back strong and more aggressive in the third set to take the win.”

That left him at No.3 in singles. Bull Dogs’ Arya Gotoh won the first set 6-4 and lost the second set 6-3 to Sara Beckwith. Beckwith took the lead 3-0, 4-1 and 5-2 in the third set, and after Gotoh fought a few match points, finished the set at 6-2.

“I came down to this game and it got away from us,” said Hammel. “Second set, made too many unforced errors. Third set, the girl EM continued to push the ball back, and we fell behind 0-3, then 1-4. There were a few big points that we missed from 2 to 5. The battle from behind held up to two match points, but was ultimately dominated by our mistakes.

Tay is the only senior to graduate from North’s regular training.

“It was a disappointing loss, but one to be proud of,” said Hammel. “Finished 20-3, ranked in the top five in the state, losing a single senior, a great experience for several girls playing in college for the first time this year. I’m looking to come back stronger and better next year. “

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