FORT WAYNE — Elkhart Memorial’s ground-breaking girls tennis season will continue.
With a 4-1 victory Saturday, May 31, against Marion at the Fort Wayne Concordia Semistate, the Crimson Chargers earned a spot in the IHSAA State Finals.
Elkhart Memorial (18-0) is scheduled to play No. 3-ranked Evansville Memorial (17-0) at 3 p.m. Friday, June 6, at Carmel High School.
The Chargers, who earned the program’s first Northern Lakes Conference, sectional and regional titles in 2014, added the first semistate and became the second Elkhart County team to go to the State Finals in the past 26 years (Fairfield in 2011 was the other) with Krystal Grubb (No. 1 single), Corinn Whittaker (No. 2 singles), Taylor Freedline (No. 3 singles) as well as Haley Stouder and Taelor Grose (No. 1 doubles) all winning against the Giants.
"It was outstanding tennis," said Memorial coach Alex Holtz. "It was a three-hour match, it was hot and it was in doubt right until the end."
The clinching third point was earned by Whittaker.
"She played very courageously,” said Holtz. "(Freedline) was the most steady. She was outstanding in both sets."
Holtz saw Stouder and Grose, who remained alive in the postseason individual draw as well, go through a “roller coaster” of emotions.
"They bounced back at the critical moments and pulled through,” said Holtz.
The three unbeatens in the eight-team State Finals are Elkhart Memorial, Evansville Memorial and Carmel (18-0).
Elkhart Central went to the State Finals a record six straight times from 1983-88, accounting for the only other semistate champions from Elkhart County in girls tennis besides Memorial on Saturday and Fairfield in 2011.
Fort Wayne Concordia Semistate
Elkhart Memorial 4, Marion 1
Krystal Grubb (Me) def. Sasha Glickfield 6-4, 6-0. Corinn Whittaker (Me) def. Sabrina Porter 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4. Taylor Freedline (Me) def. Maddie Lester 6-2, 6-1.
Haley Stouder/Taelor Grose (Me) def. Katie McCoy/Sara Highbaugh 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6). Rachel Jumper/Samantha Diedrich (Ma) def. Hannah Dillman/Mady Robison 6-0, 6-2.
Records: Memorial 18-0, Marion 16-4.
Next: Elkhart Memorial vs. Evansville Memorial in first round of State Finals 3 p.m. Friday, June 8, at Carmel.