By GREG MENGELT
The most accomplished Floyd Central girls’ tennis team in program history came up one win short of a state championship Saturday at the Indy Racquet Club.
Top-ranked Carmel (16-0) swept the singles events, surrendering up just nine games, and won its sixth team state title with a 4-1 victory over the sixth-ranked Highlanders (22-5).
“We were just up against it. They’ve got a great program,” Floyd Central Hall of Fame coach Rick Miller said. “They’ve won [six] state championships and we’re trying to win one. I’m proud of our kids. We just didn’t quite have the experience to match their experience.”
“I think they just had a better day than us,” Floyd senior Olivia Boesing said of the Greyhounds, who were playing in their 10th state finals.
The state finals appearance was the third for Floyd Central and its second in the last three years. After beating Greenwood on Friday and Penn on Saturday morning, the Highlanders reached the state championship match for the first time in school history.
“We’re going to keep on knocking on the door. Maybe one day we’ll kick it on,” Miller said.
It didn’t take the Greyhounds long to prove they had the best singles trio in the state.
Bailey Padgett, Lauryn Padgett and Molly Fletchall — none of whom are seniors — came in a combined 56-1.
The trio dropped just five games in their first sets. Lauryn Padgett beat Alexis Applegate 6-0 in the first set and needed less than an hour to get the Greyhounds their first point.
Senior Olivia Boesing battled with Carmel junior Bailey Padgett, but Padgett picked up most of the crucial points. About 80 minutes into the match, Bailey Padgett closed out a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Boesing. Less than a minute later, Fletchall finished off Floyd freshman Alex Jamison 6-2, 6-2 to give Carmel its second title in three years.
“I’m a blunt guy. If there’s a spade, I’m going to call it a spade,” Miller said. “I really thought we had an opportunity to win it today. I’m disappointed win didn’t win it all because we had an opportunity, but second place in the state is a heck of a deal.”
After going 26-1 in her first 27 matches as a senior, Boesing lost two of her last three at the state finals.
“I think maybe she worked too hard this week and she was maybe a little tired mentally,” Miller said of Boesing, who was defeated by Greenwood junior Jackie Kawamoto during the Highlanders’ 3-2 win on Friday.
The Highlanders’ one championship win came at No. 1 doubles where Whitney Batliner and Dana Frank dominated the Carmel combo of Amy Brentlinger and Linnea Peters 6-2, 6-3 to improve to 26-2 and stay unbeaten in the IHSAA tournament.
“I wanted it more with the team,” Frank said.
Frank and Batliner advance to this weekend’s state doubles tournament back in Indianapolis, this time at Park Tudor. Competition begins Friday at 10 a.m. with the state championship decided at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“I don’t really know what to expect ... but if we keep playing like we’ve been playing, anything is possible,” Batliner said.
“They’re ridiculously good,” Boesing said of the Batliner-Frank combination. “I hope they go on to win a state championship. They deserve it.”
Carmel’s fourth win came at No. 2 doubles, where Greyhound freshman duo Emma Love and Mary Voigt won the first set, 6-1, and came away with a tight second set, 6-4.
“That’s the two best No. 2 doubles teams in the state right there,” Miller said. “There’s no doubt about that. If they played 20 times, it might be 10 apiece.”
Earlier in the day, Floyd Central defeated Penn 3-2 in the state semifinal to earn its spot in the title match.
Jamison rolled by Penn sub Grace Heise 6-2, 6-2, and Batliner and Frank had little trouble beating Haley Meekhof and Lauren McCarthy, 6-1 in each set.
The big win came at No. 1 singles, where Boesing outlasted Kingsman star Haylei Snelson 6-4, 6-3 to help hand No. 4 Penn (21-1) its first dual loss of the season.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Boesing said of getting to the championship match. “We made it as far as we could — to the last day, the last match. All we could have asked for was to win one more win, but we did better than expected.”
“To get to the state finals, whatever happened from there, we didn’t care as long as gave it our all — and that’s what we did today,” Batliner said.
Miller’s program loses Boesing, who played No. 1 singles for the Highlanders for four years, plus Batliner, who has been a state finalist four straight years, and Dauby, a four-year varsity player.
“I’ve always said you’re only as good as your seniors and our senior leadership this year carried us,” Miller siad.
IHSAA GIRLS’ TENNIS STATE FINALS
At Indy Racquet Club
CARMEL 4, FLOYD CENTRAL 1
Singles — Bailey Padgett (C) d. Olivia Boesing 6-2, 6-2; Lauryn Padgett (C) d. Alexis Applegate 6-0, 6-1; Molly Fletchall (C) d. Alex Jamison 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles — Whitney Batliner-Dana Frank (F) d. Amy Brentlinger-Linnea Peters 6-2, 6-3; Emma Love-Mary Voigt (C) d. Katherine Dauby-Erin Patterson 6-1, 6-4.
FLOYD CENTRAL 3, PENN 2
Singles — Boesing (F) d. Haylei Snelson 6-4, 6-3; Madelyn Lee (P) d. Applegate 6-2, 6-0; Jamison (F) d. Grace Heise 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles — Batliner-Frank (F) d. Lauren McCarthy-Haley Meekhof 6-1, 6-1; Amanda Ahmed-Cameron Moore (P) d. Dauby-Patterson 6-4, 6-4.
BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE REGIONAL
Singles — Denise Azcui (Bloomington South) d. Erin Kanii (New Albany) 6-0, 6-0.