Wawasee Tennis

2018 Wawasee Girls Varsity Duals

The Lady Warriors hosted their annual varsity duals tournament on Saturday against Prairie Heights, Columbia City and Southwood.  Wawasee, the reigning tournament champs took a step back this year, finishing second to Southwood.  Wawasee was missing their overall #1 (Kabrea Rostochak) who was on an academic trip which shuffled the Lady Warriors doubles lineups.  Each doubles squad took on a new identity with new partners and, in the end, fell short on claiming the trophy for a second straight year.

Disappointment was not understated in Coach Staley’s post-match media interviews. “You never want to take a step back as a program, which is exactly what I feel we did today, not bringing home the trophy.”  When asked about the roster alterations with a missing Rostochak, Staley dismissed it.  “I felt the roster that was set was a better team than Southwood, we just underperformed.  When you have three seniors rotating in the two doubles spots who’ve worked under me in the program for 4 years, I expect different results.”

Staley was forced to pull 2 JV players up to varsity competition but would not use the lineup change as an excuse.  So what really went wrong?  “Singles played strong all day long, winning all but two matches.  (Elizabeth) Kleopfer was exceptional today on all of her matches.  She really took what I’ve been stressing in practice about singles strategies and executed well. Kendra (Doerr) dropped her Southwood match, but I felt she fought through a very tough opponent in (Drue) Gentry and played strongly throughout the entire day.  I felt the Columbia City loss for Kennedy (Church) really came down to a lack of experience and varsity match play on her end.  But both doubles teams I felt underperformed all day long, even during their wins, not doing what they were trained in practices when it came to movement and strategy, and that was the difference-maker today, unfortunately.”

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Wawasee finished off their first round match against Prairie Heights easily with a 5-0 win.  #1 singles Kendra Doerr, #2 singles Elizabeth Kleopfer and #3 singles Kennedy Church swept the singles courts each in straight sets, only giving up 10 total games in the combined 6 sets won.  In doubles, #1 Brianna Haessig and Courtney Larson and #2 Kaitlin Graber and Molly Jones won easily, only giving up a combined 2 games.

See Prairie Heights Boxscore

The Lady Warriors finished the second round versus Columbia City with a much tougher 4-1 victory.  Doerr and Kleopfer led the singles with impressive straight set wins and both doubles teams (#1 Larson/Haessig & #2 Jackson/Jones) showed signs of early trouble, but pulled through.

See Columbia City Boxscore

The championship round against Southwood was then set.  #2 singles Elizabeth Kleopfer and Kaitlin Graber taking the #3 singles position for the round were first off-court with straight set victories.  Kendra Doerr dropped her match, falling to a tough Southwood #1 singles player which left the remaining doubles teams on court for the tournament.  The Lady Warriors dropped both the decisive doubles courts.  Haessig/Larson lost in straight sets 5-7, 5-7 and Jackson/Jones rallied from a 3-6 first set loss to a 6-2 win in the second set setting up the tiebreaker to decide the championship.  Southwood changed the momentum, taking the tiebreaker 10-5 and securing the trophy for the Knights.

See Southwood Boxscore

It doesn’t get any easier for the Lady Warriors. Next week, they are scheduled to play four matches, 3 tough conference matches against Northridge (Tuesday at home), Concord (Wednesday away) and Warsaw (Thursday on the road) followed by a tough Manchester home non-conference matchup on Friday.

Staley’s quest to maintain the first winning season for Wawasee since 2005 remains on the bubble as the Lady Warriors are now 3-2 overall (1-0 in the conference) heading into the busiest week of the spring season.

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