Warsaw’s Liza Lewis returns a ball hit by Wawasee’s Kendra Doerr in the No. 1 singles match. Lewis went on to win the match 6-0, 6-0. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union.
Warsaw’s Liza Lewis returns a ball hit by Wawasee’s Kendra Doerr in the No. 1 singles match. Lewis went on to win the match 6-0, 6-0. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union.

The Warsaw Lady Tiger tennis team claimed its 18th-straight sectional title on Friday by defeating Wawasee 4-1.

Since taking over at the helm of the Lady Tiger tennis program, coach Rick Orban has been a perfect 18 for 18 in winning sectional titles. He called the feat ‘pretty special.’

Warsaw has now won the last 22 of 24 sectionals it has competed in, with Wawasee winning the other two, dating back to 1995.

Warsaw relied on its strengths and prevailed with three quick victories from the singles matches.

Warsaw’s Liza Lewis (No. 1) and Alyssa Zellers (No. 3) won their matches 6-0, 6-0 to give the Lady Tigers an early 2-0 lead. Lewis defeated Kendra Doerr and Zeller faced Kennedy Church.

Ella Knight cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 2 singles. She jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead in the first set to Elizabeth Kleopfer. In the second set, it was close at first with Knight holding a 2-1 advantage and then she went ahead 3-2. Knight then won three straight games to close out the singles sweep and secure the sectional title.

Orban called the performance ‘dominant.’ “They’re just really strong,” he said. “(They) came into this confident and played extremely well.”

“The singles played hard,” said Wawasee coach Shane Staley. “I have no complaints about my singles play; Warsaw just has a tremendous singles core.”

The Lady Warriors were able to keep Warsaw from sweeping all five matches with the performance from their No. 1 doubles pair Kabrea Rostochak and Courtney Larson.

Warsaw’s duo of Rachel Boyle and Taylor Shoaf grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first set, but Wawasee was able to win the next two games and steal the momentum.

The Lady Warriors stretched the lead to 5-2 and Warsaw made a comeback and trimmed the deficit to 5-4. Wawasee closed the set out with a match point.

In the second set, Wawasee kept up the pace and shot out to a 4-1 lead, before putting the set and match away with a score of 6-3.

“No. 1 doubles was great today,” said Staley. “Both of them are seniors and for them to end their career on that high note, that’s a good way to end it.”

The No. 2 doubles game could’ve gone either way, no team took a commanding lead until the second set.

Wawasee’s Brianna Haessig and Molly Jones had an early 2-1 lead in the first set. Warsaw’s Rachel Yeager came back with two straight games for a 3-2 advantage. The Lady Tigers would win the first set 7-5.

In the second set, the Lady Warriors had a slim 1-0 lead, but Warsaw went on to win six-straight games and win the set 6-0 and take the match.

The loss closes out the season for Wawasee. Despite Rostochak and Larson winning at No. 1 doubles, they lost earlier in the week and won’t advance to the regional.

The Lady Tigers will play Manchester on Tuesday in the Culver Academies Regional.



WARSAW 4, WAWASEE 1

Singles: No. 1 – Liza Lewis (WAR) def. Kendra Doerr (WAW) 6-0, 6-0; No. 2 – Ella Knight (WAR) def. Elizabeth Kleopfer (WAW) 6-1, 6-2; No. 3 – Alyssa Zellers (WAR) def. Kennedy Church (WAW) 6-0, 6-0.

Doubles: No. 1 – Kabrea Rostochak & Courtney Larson (WAW) def. Rachel Boyle & Taylor Shoaf (WAR) 6-4, 6-3; No. 2 – Rachel Yeager & Raegan Merchant (WAR) def. Brianna Haessig & Molly Jones (WAW) 7-5, 6-1.