Highland’s pursuit for perfection continued on Wednesday night as the girls tennis team defeated the Bellmont Squaws 4-1 to lay claim to its third ever regional title and first since 2001.

“Coming into this match, I thought we matched up with Bellmont very well,” said Jim Hostetler, Highland coach. “We kept the pressure on the whole match, and you could just see Bellmont think ‘Oh, my gosh, what did we run into.’”

At 24-0, the 15th-ranked Scots needed less than an hour to clinch the championship. At No. 2 singles, Mercy Scott was the first Scot to pencil in a victory at 6-2, 6-0.

Shortly after Scott’s victory, Alex Hammel won at No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-1, and the No. 1 doubles team of Kelsey McFadden and Ashlan Allison won 6-0, 6-2. Both Hammel and the No. 1 doubles team are undefeated and will advance to semi-state individually.

Senior Abby Beard was victorious 6-1, 6-4 at No. 3 singles, and the No. 2 doubles team of Alaina Coplin and Emily Jones lost 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.

“I was hoping Hammel would really start out strong, and she did,” said Hostetler. “She basically dominated, and she has done that all year. She got off to a good start, the Bellmont girl said, ‘Uh, oh, I’m in trouble’ and Hammel just kept the pressure on.”

Following Hammel’s lead, the rest of the team came out strong in the first set. Winning the first game in four out of the first five matches gave Highland momentum and confidence to finish strong.

“We really minimized our mistakes that we made last night (against Muncie Central),” said McFadden, who joins with Allison to be the only No. 1 doubles team to have a perfect regular season record for Highland. “We were all just concentrated all day and ready to get out here and play.”

While the Scots were prepared to play, they still had to battle the wind, which blew throughout the evening and altered nearly every shot. But along with the rest of her team, Hammel used the wind to her advantage on many lobs, slices and drop shots.

“I tried to mix it up a little bit with the wind,” said Hammel. “You can use the wind to your advantage, and I think I did that pretty well. I sliced the ball into the wind, making the ball go wide and making my opponent run for it. I would then lob the ball and get her off balance.”

Keeping her perfect record alive, Hammel is just the third No. 1 singles player at Highland to accomplish such a feat.

“I’ve never been this far before and in this type of position,” said Hammel. “I know there are going to be some really tough players (in the remainder of the tournament), but I am glad to have gotten this far. I am kind of the underdog now, so all I can do is play my best and go from there.”

Not only will Hammel be the underdog, but the rest of the team now has to face a fifth-ranked Zionsville team in the semi-state on Saturday at Fort Wayne Concordia at 10 a.m.

“We will probably play Zionsville, but there are some spots where we match up well with them,” said Hostetler. “Zionsville is one of the best teams in the state, but they don’t know anything about us, and we go in with nothing to lose.”

Recommended for you