In the opening round of the IHSAA State Finals, Floyd Central squared off with Carmel — the team that shattered its dreams last season.
Carmel defeated the Highlanders in last years’ state finals championship 4-1. The defending state champion and 2014 favorite Greyhounds struck again and swept the Highlanders 5-0 in Friday’s state quarterfinal round at Center Grove High School.
“Carmel is a great team,” Floyd Central coach Rick Miller said. “When you play a team like Carmel, you have to play your A-game. We aren’t as bad as that score though. We came out a little shaky and got overwhelmed. We gave up too many points and let them games get away. We just didn’t hit the ball over the net enough. We brought our C game.”
The Highlanders came out a little flat and in each match got behind on unforced errors. The bad starts added pressure to the already rattled girls, and Carmel took full advantage.
Giorgia Rossetto was the last to take the court for the Highlanders but made the Greyhounds earn their sweep. Rossetto — like the rest of the team got off to a shaky start — dropping her first set 6-2. She battled back in the second set to force defending state runner-up Bailey Padgett’s best play and a tiebreaker.
The tiebreaker went back and fourth for several minutes before Padgett claimed the match 8-6.
The Highlanders end the year with a 20-5 record, and to their coach, they surpassed all early season expectations.
“This was a fabulous year,” Miller said. “You take a preseason rank of 25th and end up in the final eight, that’s a great year. To win 20 games playing our schedule is incredible.”
Floyd Central will be losing its No.1 and No. 2 singles players, as Dana Frank move on after graduation and Rossetto returns to her Italian home. Even with facing the task of replacing his top two singles spots, Miller was optimistic about next season.
“These girls should hold their heads high,” he said. “They represented Floyd Central well all year and we will be back. They’ll keep putting in the hard work and all the miles and one or two girls will mature and we will be back here again next year.”
Carmel will try to defend its state championship today when it faces Park Tudor in the semifinal and, with a win, either Evansville Memorial or host North Central in the championship.
CARMEL 5, FLOYD CENTRAL 0
At Center Grove
No. 1—Bailey Padgett d. Giorgia Rossetto 6-2, 7-6 (8-6).
No. 2—Lauryn Padgett d. Dana Frank 6-1, 6-1.
No. 3—Zoe Woods d. Alexis Applegate 6-0, 6-0.
No. 1—Molly Fletchall-Emma Love d. Alex Jamison-Erin Patterson 6-0, 6-1.
No. 2—Mary Voigt-Kristen Layman d. Emily Stock-Kailyn Little 6-3, 6-0.