By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
It had happened to Lauren Robertson once, and she was determined it wasn’t going to happen again.
With the score tied at 2-2 and the sectional title resting on the outcome of the No. 3 singles match, Pendleton Heights claimed the crown as Robertson defeated Alexandria’s Hannah Libler 6-4, 6-3.
The win was the first girls tennis sectional team title in school history for PH.
“In a match in the Madison County (tournament), it was the same thing only I lost that match,” said Robertson. “I didn’t want that to happen again. I am a senior so this was my last chance to win a sectional.”
Two of the six courts at Highland Middle School were too slick to see action as heavy rains from the night before had pushed dirt and sand onto the west side of those courts. That meant the No. 3 singles match would need to wait for one court to be available.
That happened fairly quickly. At No. 2 singles, Emma McCardwell won 6-0, 6-0 over Alex’s Abby Matthew. McCardwell took a one-set lead from Friday’s postponed final into Saturday’s resumption of play.
The second match to be finished was No. 1 singles where Sarah-Kate Brenner of Alexandria defeated Carly Wilson 6-2, 6-1.
“The last time I played her I lost an 11-9 tiebreaker,” said Brenner. “I made an adjustment. I stepped back a bit on her serve. I kept my head in the game.”
Brenner will move on to the Marion Regional, which begins on Tuesday.
The Tigers’ powerful No. 1 doubles team of Allie Hueston and Abbie Miller were next off the court after a 6-3, 6-2 win over the PH tandem of Kayleigh and Audrey Corn. That left Alexandria with a 2-1 lead and only in need of one more victory.
“Abbie and Allie have played great together and work well as a team,” said Tigers coach Matt DeVault.
They also will move on to Marion on Tuesday.
The Arabians won the first set in the remaining two matches so the Tigers needed to force a third set in order to claim the sectional.
The No. 2 doubles match went to a tie-breaker in the opening set. PH’s duo of Haley Augsburger and Lina Larsson topped Shanna Kelly and Danielle Maynard 7-6 (7-2). The second set was close, but Augsberger and Larsson prevailed again, this time 7-5.
“Lina (a foreign exchange student) came in as a singles player,” said PH coach Royce Hammel. “I told her that singles was pretty well set, but she could be a nice doubles player.”
Larsson was especially effective at the net during the entire match.
That set the stage for Robertson to come through for the team.
“I was able to take advantage of some things,” said Robertson. “I noticed she had trouble when I would come into the net.”
“The thing that surprised me the most was that we didn’t have any three-set matches,” said Hammel. “Last time we played them, we had three of them, and we managed to win two. I had told the girls we could have lost to them 4-1.”
“(This was a) very difficult way to end the season,” said DeVault. “I was extremely proud of how hard we battled but just could not get over the top against Pendleton.”
The Arabians will play Tuesday in the Marion Regional against the Delta Sectional champion. The match will likely start at 5 p.m.