MIDDLEBURY — Doubles partners Mackenzie Martin and Emily Erekson had dropped two straight matches — accounting for the only two points that otherwise-roaring Northridge had surrendered so far during this girls high school tennis postseason.
They weren’t about to drop another.
In fact, this time they set the pace as the Raiders captured their own regional for the second straight year with a 5-0 whipping of Angola in the title contest on Wednesday, May 22.
Martin, a sophomore, and Erekson, a junior, needed just 48 minutes for their 6-1, 6-1 No. 2 doubles win.
“After a rough loss (Tuesday), we were ready to win,” Erekson said. “I know I can always get through it with my partner.”
“I think both of us have pretty good confidence in each other,” Martin said, “and both of us pick each other up when we’re down. Today felt real calm. We were ready.”
All the Raiders were. Coming off a relatively convincing 4-1 win over rival Goshen a day earlier, Northridge stayed on the attack against a second straight once-beaten foe.
Only Emily Hughes at No. 3 singles was pressed, and the sophomore still came through, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5.
Meanwhile, Sarah Smith rolled 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1 singles. Fellow senior Ashley Owens had a love set, too, in a 6-0, 6-3 victory at 2 singles.
The No. 1 doubles pair of senior Olivia Erekson and junior Courtney Clark prevailed 6-4, 6-1.
“The feeling is kind of indescribable,” Emily Erekson said of being able to play on a court right next to her big sister most of the year and to advance to semistate together. “I love my sister with everything I have. She’s an awesome sister and an awesome teammate.”
Northridge coach Angie Brenneman was delighted by the Wednesday efforts of the three players — Emily Erekson, Martin and Hughes — whom she calls “my newbies,” and has been delighted by the way the four returning starters have prepared them.
“I told our 2 doubles, ‘You gotta let it go,’” Brenneman said of Tuesday’s loss at that spot, “and they came right back and got their game on. I love how they played. And Emily, she’s more used to being the first one off (the courts) for us, but she kept fighting. Those three girls are the ones who have never been through this, but the other girls have taught them well. We’ve worked with them and told them what it’s going to feel like and how important it is to play your best tennis.”
The 28th-rated Raiders (14-1) earned a return trip to the Fort Wayne Concordia Semistate, where they’ll face No. 10-ranked Carroll (21-2) at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 25, for the right to one of the eight spots in the following weekend’s State Finals.
On a team that has gotten consistent contributions throughout the lineup, Smith enters Saturday with a 17-4 mark, Owens 18-3, Hughes 18-3, Erekson/Clark 17-4 and Erekson/Martin 15-6.
Northridge 5, Angola 0
Sarah Smith def. Kirstyn Quandt 6-1, 6-0. Ashley Owens def. Tracey Byrne 6-0, 6-3. Emily Hughes def. Alyssa Rhoades 7-6 (7-2), 7-5.
Olivia Erekson/Courtney Clark def. Kylie Bidlack/Kristen Heierman 6-4, 6-1. Emily Erekson/Mackenzie Martin def. Hannah Cowen/Victoria Yagodinski 6-1, 6-1.
Records: Northridge 14-1, Angola 14-2.
Next: Northridge vs. Carroll in Fort Wayne Concordia Semistate 1 Saturday, May 25, 10 a.m.