ELKHART — Concord senior Regan Landis was in no mood to come back Friday to try and finish the Elkhart Girls Tennis Sectional.
Fortunately for Landis, neither was her coach, Jan Soward.
So just when it looked like a heavy downpour would move many of the matches to Friday, Soward and several Concord parents brought out their squeeges and went to work on the Elkhart Central tennis courts. They were quickly joined by a number of Central officials and fans to help dry the courts.
About 90 minutes later – with the help of the sun – the match resumed and Concord was able to complete a 4-0 win over the host Blue Blazers, with the 3 singles match not being finished by mutual agreement of both schools due to weather and darkness.
It's the third straight sectional title for the Minutemen, who will return to the Elkhart Central courts on Tuesday for regional play against the winner of the East Noble Sectional.
"I'm so glad we started the match up again, because I was ready to go all day,'' Landis admitted. "It wasn't easy waiting around all the time for the courts to dry, but it's a lot better than coming back tomorrow and maybe having to play inside.''
After beating Central's Kelly Lochmandy 6-1 in the first set, Landis returned to the court after the rain delay and won six straight games to finish the match with another 6-1 victory.
Landis, who played No. 2 singles in 2018, is looking forward to next week's regional action.
"It's really exciting to win another sectional,'' Landis said. "Now we want to keep it going and see how far we can go.''
"I thought Regan was steady and strong tonight,'' Soward said. "The Central girl (Lochmandy) played well too, but Regan just played a little better in the end.''
Less than an hour into the match, a dark cloud dumped dumped quite a big of rain on the Central tennis courts. But just when it looked like the match wouldn't be completed until Friday – and possibly inside at the Eastlake Athletic Club due to more rain in the forecast, Soward and her crew sprang into action.
"We didn't really want to wait or play inside on Friday and we have prom on Saturday, so one of the options was Monday and that just wouldn't do with regionals the next day,'' Soward said. "It took some work, but we were able to get everything dry and we were able to finish today. The IHSAA even says to try and get the matches in outside if possible.''
The Minutemen's No. 2 doubles team of Kaylee Price and Kelsee O'Dell had just defeated Central's Abby Hilliard and Faith Mohr 6-3 and 6-1 before the rains hit, so only four courts needed to be dried.
Concord's 1 doubles of Keegan Thursby and Lauren Pollock didn't waste much time once they got back on the courts, finishing off a 6-1, 6-1 victory over the Blazers' Rylee Wiltfong and Abby Phelps.
Megahan Godzisz of Concord would clinch the sectional title with a hard-earned 6-2, 6-4 victory over Central's Paige Phelps at No. 2 singles. Landis would then finish her victory over Lochmandy at No. 1.
Concord's Lauren Boessler led Central's Jillian Hayward at No. 3 singles 1-0, but Hayward led the second set when lightening and rain came, ending the match.
"Our seniors (Landis, Thursby and O'Dell) got a taste of winning the last few years and they wanted that to continue,'' Soward said. "I believe we're building a winning culture here and you can see it even in our J.V. kids with the way they've been responding to the team's success.''
While Elkhart Central coach Ric Wiskotoni was disappointed to see his team's season end, he was pleased with the way the Blue Blazers went out.
"I thought we played with a lot of energy tonight and really played well against a very strong team,'' Wiskotoni said. "All the girls did a good job, but I thought Kelli played one of her best matches of the season. The final score may not show it, but she really battled.''
ELKHART TENNIS SECTIONAL
CONCORD 4, ELKHART CENTRAL 0
SINGLES: Regan Landis def. Kelly Lochmandy 6-1, 6-1. Megahan Godzisz def. Paige Phelps 6-2, 6-4. 3 Singles: Incomplete due to weather.
DOUBLES: Keegan Thursby/Lauren Pollock def. Rylee Wiltfong/Abby Phelps 6-1, 6-1. Kaylee Price/Kelsee O'Dell def. Abby Hilliard/Faith Mohr 6-3, 6-1.