AURORA – After dodging a legitimate upset bid by the Batesville Lady Bulldogs in the sectional semifinals at South Dearborn High School, Oldenburg Academy's Lady Twisters laid stake to their eighth sectional title in 10 years by shutting out East Central 5-0 May 18.
"We're so proud of the girls," said assistant coach Bill Wanstrath in speaking for head coach Mark Wilder, who missed the trophy presentation due to a prior commitment.
"I think the girls were a lot more mature (this year) and handled it a lot better," he added. "That was a really tough match with Batesville and this one started out close."
Long-time doubles partners Hanna Hurm and Sarah Preston put the Twisters on the board first on a Saturday that doubled as the hottest day so far in 2019.
The seniors rolled past Abby Bischoff and Brooke Stonefield at No. 1 doubles (6-3, 6-1) to give OA a 1-0 lead. Kathryn Wilder was next off the courts, claiming a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Heidi Kane at No. 1 singles.
Apparently, it didn't take OA too long to catch up on their scouting report after not seeing the Lady Trojans during the season. The Twisters had also not played Batesville prior to Thursday.
"We saw what they did against their conference opponents and how we did against those (common) opponents," said Wanstrath. "We kind of had an idea how these would go."
GiGi Dreyer and Claire Hollingsworth needed to complete a straight-set win over Grace and Rachel Kraus at No. 2 doubles to clinch the sectional title. They soon obliged with a 6-1, 6-4 win.
At No. 2 singles, Sarah Price gutted out a victory over Maddie Davidson. The first set went into a tiebreak, which went the way of Price (8-6); an easier time was had in the next set (6-1).
Despite already being down 4-0, the Trojans elected to play out a third set at No. 3 singles between OA's Alexa Miles and Maddie Richter. Miles had won the first set 6-4, but dropped the second by the same score. In lieu of a deciding tiebreak, Miles soldiered on to win 6-3.
Oldenburg will face Centerville in one of two regional semifinals at Richmond High School May 21. The other features Blue River Valley and Franklin County. Winners would square off Wednesday.
Wanstrath feels the team's maturity should carry them into that next level, where a fifth straight regional crown is in the balance.
OA will be two weeks out from defeating Centerville 3-2. Wilder and the doubles teams carried the Twisters in that match. An earlier match vs. Franklin County went 4-1 in OA's favor.
"It should be interesting at the regional, but it's not going to be a breeze," said Wanstrath.
VS. BATESVILLE (Semifinal round)
It took two nights to determine the winner between rivals separated by less than four miles.
The Bulldogs dropped behind early on May 16 as Wilder polished off Sophie Brown, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 1 singles. However, Batesville recaptured the lead by picking up wins on the adjoining singles courts.
At No. 3 singles, Jenna Ertel dispatched Miles 6-2, 6-0 before a rainstorm forced the teams to take cover. The concluding matches would have to be played Friday afternoon.
Playing No. 2, Kate Poltrack outlasted Price in a 3-setter (4-6, 6-0, 6-3). Hurm and Preston were then too tough for Corinne Stone and Betsy Harmeyer on the top doubles court (6-2, 6-2).
This set up a showdown at No. 2 doubles for rights to advance. Dreyer and Hollingsworth got off to the quick start with a 6-2 first set. Lily Esser and Maggie Walsman fought back to tie the match by taking the second set 6-3; the duo would run out of gas in a 6-0 final set.
Batesville finished the year at 7-9.
Will Fehlinger can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 112.