Braves, Vikings advance to tennis sectional final

May 15—It wasn't quite a dogpile, but it came pretty close, something you don't usually see in the semifinals of a tournament.

Particularly by a team that didn't win.

But it was that kind of a night Wednesday at Terre Haute South, where all four teams involved in the girls high school tennis semifinals had something to cheer about.

The host Braves celebrated a 3-2 victory over Terre Haute North that moved the host team into Thursday's championship match.

Northview didn't win, but can celebrate Martina Sutherland moving to the regional as an individual.

West Vigo is celebrating its 4-1 win over the Knights, the Vikings first win in a girls sectional tennis match since ... well, nobody seems to know, not even legendary former athletic director Jim Mann.

And the team with the near-dogpile was Terre Haute North, something that may not surprise people familiar with coach Amanda Lubold.

She and her team were celebrating the two points that they earned in a pair of three-set doubles matches, the second of them sending Rigley Irby and Hannah Wineinger to the next round as a No. 1 doubles team.

"I am so proud of this team and how we played, up and down the court," Lubold said after the match. "We knew we had to win both doubles and steal a singles win to have a chance. Our one doubles did not play well in the [regular-season] North-South match, but they took up the challenge ... and two doubles have held it down for us all year."

In one sense it was an easy victory for the Braves, ranked 27th in the coaches' poll. Sarah Rowe set the tone at No. 1 singles with a ruthless killer instinct that got her off the court in well under an hour, and Aja Irish wasn't far behind at No. 3.

"[South's] singles have been strong all year," Lubold said afterward. "Ella Tapy did a good job of competing [at No. 2 singles, before losing to Jordan Miller in the match that clinched the team victory for South]."

"I'm a little disappointed," admitted coach Dallas Kelsey of the Braves. "One doubles just got nervous. I feel bad for them, because they don't get to move on [as a doubles team] if we don't advance as a team.

"Give credit to Terre Haute North. They stayed upbeat and played very well."

West Vigo went into the other semifinal match as a favorite, after a 4-1 win over Northview during the regular season, which left historians scrambling unsuccessfully to find a precedent for such a thing.

"We beat Northview when we went over there, so I told the girls today that it's hard to beat a good team twice," Viking coach Kasey Chew said after her team's win was assured, "but today we proved we're the better team and I'm really proud of them."

Chew, like everyone else, had no idea when a previous sectional tennis win had come for the Viking girls. "It's been a long, long time," the coach said. "We played really well ... and [doubles player] Maddie [Bradbury] is our only varsity senior, so we'll be back strong next year."

Coach Joni Sutherland of Northview said her team's record didn't indicate the progress it made throughout the season.

"We were young, with a lot of learning to do," she said. "We're losing some great seniors, but we do have one moving on to the regionals [the coach's daughter], so that's exciting."

Terre Haute South 3, Terre Haute North 2

Singles — Sarah Rowe (S) def. Yewon Jung 6-0, 6-1; Jordan Miller (S) def. Ella Tapy 6-1, 6-3; Aja Irish (S) def. Becca Williams 6-0, 6-0.

Doubles — Rigley Irby-Hannah Wineinger (N) def. Jessica Kallubhavi-Savannah Semmler 6-4, 4-6, 6-3; Aubrey Ervin-Kenley Shoults (N) def. Anika Gera-Ellie Luken 6-1, 1-6, 6-2.

West Vigo 4, Northview 1

Singles — Martina Sutherland (Nv) def. Allie Lasecki 7-6 (7-2), 6-4; India Pigg (WV) def. Myra McQueen 6-3, 6-2; Jessa Bark (WV) def. Chloe Stevens 6-1, 6-1.

Doubles — Maddie Bradbury-Lilly Wrin (WV) def. Samantha Hendricks-Kambree James 6-4, 6-3; Bayli Vester-Lilly Vester (WV) def. Maci Brimberry-Lacie Lee 7-5, 6-0.

Next — Terre Haute South (17-6) and West Vigo (6-7) will play at 5 p.m. Thursday at South in the championship match. Terre Haute North finished 4-12, Northview 3-12.