As has been the case every year since 1995, either Warsaw or Wawasee is going to win a girls tennis sectional title tonight.

The Lady Tigers and Lady Warriors won their respective semifinal matches Thursday and will square off today at 4:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to Tuesday’s semifinal round of the Culver Academies Regional.

Warsaw, the sectional host, beat Tippecanoe Valley 5-0 Thursday, losing just two games to the Lady Vikings over the 10 sets and needing a little under 45 minutes to complete the sweep.

Wawasee, a 5-0 winner over Whitko in Wednesday’s opening round, beat Columbia City 4-1 Thursday.

The Lady Tigers, who have won 17 consecutive sectional titles and 21 of the last 23, earned the three team points necessary to advance as their singles players all won in about 30 minutes.

Senior Liza Lewis beat Valley senior Lea Stouder 6-0, 6-1; senior Ella Knight blanked Valley senior Makayla Sandbakken 6-0, 6-0; and Warsaw sophomore Alyssa Zellers was a 6-0, 6-0 winner over senior Courtney Randall.

In No. 1 doubles action, Warsaw’s duo of sophomore Taylor Shoaf and junior Rachel Boyle beat Valley juniors Tiphanie Hodge and Makenna Bradley 6-1, 6-0.

Lady Tiger juniors Rachel Yeager and Reagan Merchant were 6-0, 6-0 winners over seniors Morgan Gilbertson and Kaleigh Shumaker at No. 2 doubles.

“We anticipated a win, but I didn’t really look up Valley’s record or anything,” said Warsaw coach Rick Orban, whose team improved to 12-3. “We knew it was going to be the kind of night we could work on some of the things that we wanted to get ready for the next round, and that’s exactly what we did.

“Tippy Valley’s coach ... nice guy, and his girls were sweethearts, but this was one of those matches where the girls come off the court and give their score and it’s 6-0, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0 ... and they just feel bad for them. I told them, ‘hang in there, it takes a while to build a good program.’”

Orban was pleased to see his team play focused, considering they were heavily favored.

“As the girls came off, I told them ‘great match,’” said Orban. “It wasn’t because of the scores, it was because they stayed so focused. That’s what I was proud of.”

The Lady Tigers have won the sectional title every year Orban has been at the helm of the program.

Valley coach Andrew Luce was proud of his team’s effort, and conceded that Warsaw’s experience was just too much.

“The effort was there, but Warsaw was just too strong and experienced,” said Luce. “We’ve struggled all season with consistency with our ground strokes. We may win a point, and then have an unforced error.

“Warsaw is an excellent team. A lot of the games we lost tonight were due to unforced errors.”

Valley will graduate five of the seven players that competed Thursday night, as only the No. 1 doubles team of Hodge and Bradley will return.

Luce said it’s important for his team to put in the time during the offseason.

“Unfortunately, we lose a great number of girls,” said Luce. “We’ve got four freshman coming in, and I’m sensing the anchor of our team right now for next year will be the No. 1 doubles team, two juniors that played pretty well tonight.

“We need to hit it in the offseason for us to even think about getting to the level where Warsaw is. These girls, we’ve got to get them hitting between mid-May and mid-March when the season starts again.”

Improving to 8-10 and advancing to tonight’s sectional final, Wawasee swept all three singles matches against Columbia City and also won at No. 2 doubles.

Junior Kendra Doerr won at No. 1 singles, beating junior Olivia Campbell 6-3, 6-0.

At No. 2 singles, Wawasee sophomore Elizabeth Kleopfer was a 6-4, 6-2 winner over junior Grace Cotter.

And at No. 3 singles, sophomore Kennedy Church beat Columbia City senior Lydia Morgan 6-4, 6-3.

The Lady Warriors’ No. 2 doubles team of senior Brianna Haessig and sophomore Molly Jones were 6-4, 6-2 winners over junior Isabelle Kreienbrink and sophomore Hailey Cearbaugh.

Columbia City’s lone win came from the No. 1 doubles team of seniors Jayma Acres and Hannah Behm, who beat Wawasee seniors Kabrea Rostochak and Courtney Larson 7-5, 6-2.

“It was a hard-fought win on all courts,” said Wawasee coach Shane Staley, whose team lost 5-0 to Warsaw during the regular season. “Our singles play continues to improve, and a solid victory by our No. 2 doubles team.”


Singles: No. 1 – Liza Lewis (W) def. Lea Stouder 6-0, 6-1; No. 2 – Ella Knight (W) def. Makayla Sandbakken 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 – Alyssa Zellers (W) def. Courtney Randall 6-0, 6-0

Doubles: No. 1 – Taylor Shoaf & Rachel Boyle (W) def. Tiphanie Hodge & Makenna Bradley 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 – Rachel Yeager & Reagan Merchant (W) def. Morgan Gilbertson & Kaleigh Shumaker 6-0, 6-0


Singles: No. 1 – Kendra Doerr (W) def. Olivia Campbell 6-3, 6-0; No. 2 – Elizabeth Kleopfer (W) def. Grace Cotter 6-4, 6-2; No. 3 – Kennedy Church (W) def. Lydia Morgan 6-4, 6-3

Doubles: No. 1 – Jayma Acres & Hannah Behm (CC) def. Kabrea Rostochak & Courtney Larson 7-5, 6-2; No. 2 – Brianna Haessig & Molly Jones (W) def. Isabelle Kreienbrink & Hailey Cearbaugh 6-4, 6-2