Redskins (14-1) capture first sectional title since 2000, look to avenge lone loss Tuesday.
GOSHEN — First-year Goshen girls tennis coach Daniel Love wasn’t afraid this spring to make a seemingly illogical lineup change.
Of course, when your program hasn’t won a sectional over the previous dozen years, why not go a bit illogical?
Love’s change continued to pay high-end dividends Friday, May 17, as the Redskins captured their first postseason crown since 2000 with a 5-0 shutout over NorthWood in the Goshen Sectional title match.
“Yes, it was a risk,” said Love, who moved seniors Ali Peters and Emily Halley from Nos. 1 and 3 singles, respectively, to 1 doubles this spring.
“Both players had phenomenal years last year and to combine them into one spot doesn’t seem like a good tennis move,” Love said, “but they play very well together, and we were fortunate to have Liseanne (Scheffers, foreign exchange student from The Netherlands) arrive and fill a spot at 2 singles, and to have Miranda (Kay) do so well moving up to 1. The move from 2 singles to 1 singles is like the night and day of tennis, but she put in the work and has had a great year.”
“Ali and I were really pushing for doubles,” Halley acknowledged. “We were lucky to have Liseanne come in and to have Miranda put in the time in the offseason.”
“Everything just kind of fell into place for us as a team,” Peters said. “We have a lot of fun in practice and we’ve been working real hard. This group, ever since grade school, we’ve loved tennis. It’s like our favorite thing to do.”
“We were definitely nervous today, with it being 13 years,” Halley said of the Redskins’ title drought. “We did have that in our mind, but Coach Love always says we can’t look for the finish line. He always tells us to keep our (blinders) on, play one point at a time, not look for the end result.”
“We came hungry today, we came ready,” Love said. “We didn’t play our very best on all the courts, but we knew we had to play every single point.”
Kay roared to a 6-1, 6-0 win at 1 singles, and Peters and Halley weren’t far behind in closing out their 6-1, 6-2 victory at 1 doubles.
Kay, a junior, improved to 15-3, while Peters and Halley moved to 16-2, and by virtue of remaining undefeated in postseason at No. 1 slots, each also remained alive in the state individual draw.
Senior Leah Shetler and sophomore Kayci Troyer at 2 doubles delivered the clincher for Goshen with their 6-2, 6-4 win, and junior Sarah Rush stretched the team count to 4-0 with a 6-2, 6-3 victory at 3 singles.
NorthWood freshman Sydney Wysong refused to stop battling, though, pushing Scheffers to a third set and well past the three-hour mark before falling 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3.
The Redskins, 10-8 a year ago, moved to 14-1, while coach Tif Schwartz’s Panthers, 4-9 a year ago, closed at 12-7, including Thursday’s 3-2 stunner over Fairfield.
Goshen looks to avenge its only loss all spring when it faces Northridge (12-1) in a Northridge Regional semifinal Tuesday, May 21. While the Raiders won the teams’ late-April meeting 5-0, three courts featured three-setters and a fourth produced a 7-5, 6-4 result.
Goshen 5, NorthWood 0
Miranda Kay def. Emily Hoffman 6-1, 6-0. Lisanne Scheffers def. Sydney Wysong 6-4, 6-7 (5-7) 6-3. Sarah Rush def. Megan Reed 6-2, 6-3.
Emily Halley/Ali Peters def. Tori Schwartz/Kennedy Walter 6-1, 6-2. Leah Shetler/Kayci Troyer def. Alaina Donegan/Taylor Stutzman 6-2, 6-4.
Next: Goshen vs. Northridge in Northridge Regional semifinal Tuesday, May 21, 5 p.m.