The Borden girls’ tennis team is hoping to have a milestone season in 2014.
On Saturday at New Albany High School, the Braves got off to a tremendous start in making that happen.
In its season opener, Borden registered 54 points and won four individual titles to claim the New Albany Invitational championship. It was the second time in three seasons that the Braves have won the tournament title. They shared the crown with the host Bulldogs and Providence in 2012.
Borden’s performance on Saturday impressed veteran New Albany coach Bob Dusch.
“I think Borden has a very nice team,” Dusch said. “I like the fact that they’re very athletic. I felt like in a couple of places that maybe they beat girls that were maybe better tennis players because they are so athletic. [Borden coach Ross Shauver] has done a very nice job there, and I really want to congratulate him.”
All three singles championships went to the Braves.
Senior Abby Ellis won the No. 1 singles title match against New Albany senior Lauren Hoffer, 6-4, 6-1. In the two singles final, sophomore Kendyl Wheatley needed a super tiebreaker to knock off Bulldog freshman Ashley Fulmer, 2-6, 6-2 (12-10). Senior Sarah Hurst downed Christian Academy’s Courtney Heishman in the No. 3 singles championship match, 6-3, 6-0.
Borden’s No. 1 doubles team of juniors McKenzie Owens and Sidney Martin captured its individual title by a super tiebreaker. The Braves’ tandem defeated North Harrison’s Peyton and Sydney Fravel 2-6, 6-2 (11-9).
Borden juniors Bailee and Katie Kruer finished third at No. 2 doubles by defeating Providence’s Katelyn Koopman and Elizabeth Short in the final round.
“Our singles kind of set the tone for today,” Shauver said. “We’ve been trying to gear up for this thing because we thought we had a pretty good team this year. I was really happy with the top four performances. I was really pleased to get all four in the finals.”
Shauver said the Braves’ ultimate goal is to unseat perennial power Silver Creek as Silver Creek sectional champions this season. He hopes Saturday’s New Albany Invitational title will give his players even more confidence in 2014.
“We’re setting our sights a little bit higher and trying to get to the sectional,” Shauver said. “Everything is leading up to that match with Silver Creek. We know they’re still good. I know they’ve lost some players, but they’re still going to be tough to beat regardless.”
Christian Academy wound up second in the team standings with 31 points. New Albany placed third with 27 points, followed by North Harrison (22), Clarksville (18), Austin (15), Providence (nine) and Henryville (four).
Sophomore Brittany Moffett and freshman Danielle Summit won the No. 2 doubles title for the Warriors. They beat North Harrison’s Lexie James and Alison Sieg in the final, 6-2, 6-1.
“Honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect today because my No. 2 doubles team [consisted of] a freshman and a sophomore,“ said CAI coach Steve Brown, whose team also had its season opener on Saturday. “The sophomore was kind of a three singles player most of the year last year, so I didn’t know how she would adjust to playing doubles. But they had been playing pretty good in practice, so I knew they had a chance to play well. They came out of the gate pretty strong and they stayed strong all day.”
Along with Heishman’s second-place effort at three singles, CAI’s Rachel Jones finished third at No. 1 singles. Also for the Warriors, the No. 1 doubles team of Kacie Arrell and Courtney Brown was fifth and No. 3 singles player Lauren Winchell ended up sixth.
“They started off with some jitters, but they actually started pretty strong,“ Steve Brown said about his troops. “Part of that is the luck of the draw. Sometimes, you get pretty good matchups. They got four out of five first-round wins, which really helps your team and your score.”
Hoffer’s and Fulmer’s runner-up finishes were the highest for the Bulldogs. Both New Albany doubles tandems - Haley Young and Rachel Johnson at No. 1 and Anne Mattox and Megha Dhanapal at No. 2 - placed fourth. Bulldog three singles player Racquel Burch was fifth.
“I’m real pleased, particularly with Megha Dhanapal. She’s a freshman, and she’s a nice addition to the team. When she gains some experience, I think she’s going to be real solid,” Dusch said. “In her second-round match, Lauren Hoffer, [who faced] Rachel Jones, played her best tennis of the year. She was really moving well and hitting through the ball. I thought she played real solid. At No. 3 singles, Racquel got down in her first match, but I was really proud with the way she fought back and won it in a tiebreaker. She didn’t give up and she did that throughout the day. [Fulmer] was playing very tentative today. I mean, she won two matches and got into the finals. But the wind picked up a little bit and she got very defensive and very tentative in hitting through the ball. I guess a lot of that goes with being a freshman.”
Senior Abigail Hurtgen and sophomore Miranda DeKorte each led Clarksville, finishing third at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively. Teammate Jennie Goldman wound up fourth at one singles.
Koopman and Short’s fifth-place effort at two doubles was Providence’s highest finish. No. 1 singles player Olivia Bass, No. 3 singles player Mariel Basa and the No. 1 doubles team of Natalie and Brianna Jacobi each placed sixth for the Pioneers.
Sophomore Sarah Johnson paced Henryville with a fifth-place effort at No. 2 singles. The Hornets’ No. 1 doubles team of Mya Craig and Tami Burgin finished seventh.
On Monday, Borden will visit New Washington, Christian Academy will host Lanesville and Providence will travel to Jeffersonville. New Albany will be at Floyd Central on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Clarksville will host Charlestown, while Henryville will travel to Lanesville.
NEW ALBANY INVITATIONAL
At New Albany High School
Team scores: Borden 54, Christian Academy 31, New Albany 27, North Harrison 22, Clarksville 18, Austin 15, Providence 9, Henryville 4.
Championship results: No. 1 singles - Abby Ellis (B) d. Lauren Hoffer (NA) 6-4, 6-1; No. 2 singles - Kendyl Wheatley (B) d. Ashley Fulmer (NA) 2-6, 6-2 (12-10); No. 3 singles - Sarah Hurst (B) d. Courtney Heishman (CAI) 6-3, 6-0; No. 1 doubles - McKenzie Owens-Sidney Martin (B) d. Peyton Fravel-Sydney Fravel (NH) 2-6, 6-2 (11-9); Brittany Moffett-Danielle Summit (CAI) d. Lexie James-Alison Sieg (NH) 6-2, 6-1.